The data, which should have been published in the autumn, was delayed due to “difficulties in collating the data” and was not available to MSPs at the time of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill’s first stage of approval. Colin Sheddon of BASC Scotland condemned the lack of evidence as “unacceptable”.
Now that the official figures have become available, they show that airgun crime in Scotland remains low, at the second lowest level in the ten-year period between 2004-14. There has been a 73 per cent decline in airgun crime since its peak in 2006-07.
The information will now be available to MSPs in advance of the Stage Three debate for the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill on 25 June. If passed, the Bill will make licensing a legal requirement for all airgun users.
“We are pleased to see that crimes involving airguns remain at this very low level accounting for 0.06% of all crime,” BASC Scottish Committee Chairman Alan Balfour said. “Airgun shooting is a low risk, low cost sport enjoyed by tens of thousands of people across Scotland every day. The introduction of a licensing scheme identical to that required for high powered rifles is disproportionate and, as these figures show, unnecessary.”
Colin Sheddon said, “Police Scotland is known to be struggling to commit resource to a wide range of criminal activity but will be committed to a significant administrative burden if air weapon licensing is implemented.”