New laws are to take effect in Scotland on the 31st December which will require all air gun owners to have the correct certification for ownership of firearms such as air rifles and guns, having until the end of November to apply for a firearms license to retain their weapons.
A summer amnesty was held in which thousands of uncertified air guns were handed in to police stations all over the country in a bid to reduce the number of illegal or uncertified replica weapons. The surrender campaign brought in weapons from over 11,500 people with unwanted and illegal weapons.
Under the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015, it will be a serious criminal offence to own an air weapon without the necessary certificate and anyone found to be flouting the law could face up to two years in prison or facing a hefty fine at the least.
The Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson urged people to apply for the correct certification immediately, regardless of whether or not the weapon is used. The main point being that if you are in possession of an air gun or rifle and have applied for a certificate before 31st December, you should be ok to have the weapon without holding a certificate.
This however, is the only exemption and all weapons are required to have the certification without fail. Use of the weapon whilst awaiting the certification is not permitted and it has to be stored safely in accordance with existing law.
The law will reduce the number of crimes committed with replica and imitation weapons and should aid in the safe use of firearms through approved and registered shooting ranges and activity centres, thus removing a large proportion of people who should not carry weapons and do not have the legal certification to approve their use.
Guns are rarely out of the press in the UK and not for positive reasons. The PR is always negative and highlights the dangers of noncertified use. It is intended that the law does not impact on the use of weapons for activities such as airsoft or skirmish style fights, however, time will tell what the actual implications are.
Many clubs and ranges across the country support the new laws and understand the importance of tackling violet crime committed with weapons either real or imitation. The law will cover all types of weapons such as air guns and rifles, shot guns, GAMO Air Pistols and just about any other firearm possible.