Scotland expected to ban air rifles


By Andrea McCallum

A NEW agreement between Westminster and Holyrood could see air rifles being banned from Scotland’s streets.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy secured the deal, which sees the authority over the weapons being transferred to the Scottish Government.

The decision comes four years after Scots tot Andrew Morton was gunned down just yards from his Glasgow home.

His parents Sharon and Andy – who have been campaigning for the weapon ban since Andrew died – have welcomed the deal.

Sharon said: “This is the best Christmas present we ever could have wished for.

“This might not be the end, but I feel we have turned a corner and it’s certainly the beginning of the end.

“I feel we are fulfilling the promise to Andrew that we made at his graveside, and that is for a total ban on airguns in Scotland.”

Andy, 35, said: “All the political parties have now accepted the principle that this is an issue which should be decided at Holyrood.

“And at Holyrood, all the parties have supported us. If this ban goes through, we will be rid of the 500,000 airguns on Scotland’s streets.

“As far as I am concerned, you can call it Andrew’s Law.”

Details of the deal are in the UK Government’s White Paper responding to the Calman Commission that is to be published soon.

But the Scotland Office refused to confirm the deal.

A spokesman said: “The UK Government will set out its response to Calman very shortly. Air weapons will be dealt with as part of that.”

Mark Bonnini – who murdered two-year-old Andrew when he stopped in the street to look at a fire engine – was jailed for at least 13 years.

And since the tragedy, UK legislation of airguns has been tightened so that the minimum age to own an airgun is now 18, mail orders have been banned and all retailers must be registered.

The new legislation is unlikely to become law before the General Election due to be held next year.

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  1. Typical knee jerk reaction to suit do gooders. Half a million air `weapons` off Scotlands streets? What a bunch of old toss. What about the thousands of responsible and mature airgunners who abide by the law?
    How about banning a sport because of a tiny idiotic minority more like. Knife crime is a REAL problem in Scotland. Why not ban knives? In reality any clown can buy a meat cleaver or a stanley and head into own. How about banning Golf clubs? I mean when someone gets clobbered in a gang fight witha 9 iron or what about banning axes or hammers? Its ridiculous.

    Seems a ban is an easy appeasement but it certainly won`t do any good. You think the junkies or idiots will hand them in to the police along with Mr Average who`s in his local target shooting club?? They`ll be even more coveted by the system abusing , benefit claiming filth that we have too much of in this country.

    • I do feel for little andrews parents and the loss and pain suffered , i would have to be locked up for BANNINI’S sake if it was my child.My son is 16 and a member of the army cadet force where marksmanship(shooting) is encouraged and why not . I live in the knife capital of europe (scotland) knifes,drink and drugs are used every day by idiots to settle issues. BANNING AIRGUNS is NOT the way foward, it is a hobby just like stamp collecting thats why such clubs exsist. Banning airguns would simply drive idiot owners ( people that own for the sake of owning ) underground , a proven result of knee jerk reactions of the past should be a lesson we should heed. Legal owners such as club members , farmers and their emplyee’s should not be mayed to pay because of idiots out of their faces on drink and drugs

  2. The previous commenters make the point perfectly.

    This is knee-jerk nonsense from politicians who don’t want to grapple with the real issues.

    To be very specific we have a problem in Scotland of youths and young adult males deliberately discharging air weapons in urban environments. Often the targets are the emergency services who the perperptrators have called in order to give themselves someone to shoot at. These incidents also usually occur at the wrong end of town, typically on council schemes: the fatality involving poor Andrew Morton, for example, was, significantly, in Easterhouse.

    Sadly but revealingly, while Andrew’s killer was rightly jailed, most offenders in Scotland today who commit this sort of crime get a non-custodial sentence. For example, Scott Martin, who shot a number of people in Currie near Edinburgh in 2006, got just 240 hours community service.

    This fact starkly highlights the two-faced character of our politicians who claim that this is a major issue of public safety requiring restricting the freedoms of large number of unthreatening law-abiding citizens and yet at the same time exhibit no interest at all in ensuring that those who deliberately use air weapons to endanger others get the stiff sentences that on the same argument clearly ought to be imposed.

    Personally I’d only take seriously a politician arguing for a ban on anyone owning air weapons if he or she was also prepared to call for mandatory custodial sentences for those who deliberately shoot other people with said weapons.

    But I won’t hold my breath. Too many of our policies are so PC that they simultaneously want to ban this and ban that where ordinary people are concerned but are deeply reluctant to take a hard line with genuine criminals.

  3. With all respect and sympathy to the parents of the Andrew I agree with the previous comments in that a total ban on air rifles is not an answer within Scotland.
    Licensing is an option for those without an existing Shotgun or Firearms License but a ban is unfair to responsibly shooters. They banned handguns which deprived target shooters of their sport but the illegal firearms are still available and being used on our Streets along automatic weapons. It serves no purpose to persecute a law abiding section of the public for the actions of a lunatic fringe. Make the penalties heavy and painful to those who commit the crime. Without diminishing the tragic events which inspired this suggested action it is not the weapon but the person who is responsible.
    I have joined BASC to show my support against this ban I would encourage others to do so too.

  4. guns don’t do damage people do damage . yes i believe there should be more restrictions on who can own one and i believe they should always be declared. but this will only harm people who use the air rifle in the way it was intended such as vermin control . it will no doubt drive them underground even more into the wrong hands causing an even bigger problem on the streets

  5. Rest in peace Andrew. However your death will not resort in the loss of any of the four air rifles/ pistols that I possess. I am competent and capable unlike the knife wielding idiots that roam out streets. I work too hard for parliament to tell me what I need to compromise on because of the occasional killing.

  6. if we ban airguns,because someone used it illegally,its wrong,in that case,i know someone who was killed by a drunk driver,so lets ban cars,i know someone who was stabbed to death,so lets ban all knives.i also knew someone who was killed with a t.v,so lets ban tellies,thats the same theory that this ridiculous idea was based on

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