Committed to firearms action
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill today reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to modernise and strengthen the law around air weapons.
Mr MacAskill was speaking after a visit to Fife Constabulary headquarters where he met officers responsible for licensing firearms across the Kingdom of Fife, as well as a local certificate holder.
The visit comes the day after powers to regulate air weapons transferred from Westminster to Holyrood under the Scotland Act. The Scottish Government anticipated this transfer by setting up a Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel, which has already been working on proposals for introducing a new licensing regime for air weapons.
Mr MacAskill will chair a meeting of the Panel this summer before the Scottish Government launches a consultation, based on the Panel’s findings, by the end of the year.
Speaking after visiting the police headquarters in Glenrothes, Mr MacAskill said:
“Recorded crime in Scotland is now at a 37 year low, with recorded offences involving firearms in Scotland reaching a 32 year low. Thanks to the hard work of Scotland's police forces and responsible dealers, firearms owners are increasingly aware of their responsibilities.
“I was pleased to meet the team in Fife and learn about the valuable work they do. Their robust approach to licensing helps prevent firearms from being used in criminal ways, while I also welcomed the opportunity to hear a certificate holder’s perspective.
“My visit here comes at a time when powers over air weapons have now been devolved and I have repeatedly stated this Government’s commitment to strengthening air weapon law.
“This Government believes that the law around unlicensed airguns is long overdue for reform. The Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel has been working on proposals for introducing a new licensing regime for air weapons and will continue to develop these proposals at the next meeting which I will chair.
“I look forward to receiving their final recommendations before launching a consultation later this year.”
Assistant Chief Constable Tom Ewing, who sits on the Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel and is the ACPOS firearms licensing lead, said:
"I welcome the visit by the Cabinet Secretary to see at first hand how police officers and staff in firearms licensing across Scotland work to ensure the safety of the public."