The annual conference of the Scottish National Party backed a call by Glasgow North East councillor, Grant Thoms, to enable local authorities to pass local bylaws to ban air guns. The move follows attempts by Aberdeen City Council to introduce a similar bylaw.
Commenting on the party’s unanimous support, Councillor Thoms said “Glasgow is second only to Aberdeen in the airgun crime league and it’s not a position we should be proud of. More than half of all crimes involving firearms used air weapons. Children, adults and animals are the victims of these crimes. Many are maimed and unfortunately too many are killed.
“During the Summer, the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced that the Scottish Government is determined to bring about an air gun ban. However, firearm laws are reserved to Westminster so now the Labour Scottish Secretary needs to act. I have heard that Westminster officials are ‘not enthusiastic’ to allow Councils to use bylaws to ban air guns suggesting the Firearms Act 1968 gives the police sufficient powers to tackle this menace. Well all I can say is that either that law is ineffective or it is unenforced. Air guns are lethal toys in the hands of a few and we need to get rid of them from our cities and towns.”
1. The wording of the motion passed on Saturday 27 October 2007:
Conference recognises that air guns play a limited useful role in our communities. Conference notes the intention of Aberdeen City Council to introduce a bylaw which will, on the whole, ban air guns within that local authority area. Conference notes that there is existing legislation on Air Weapons and Firearms but recognises that this legislation does not empower specific communities to restrict air guns further. Conference, therefore, calls on the Scottish Government to support local authorities which introduce local bylaws to restrict the ownership and use of air guns further, subject to exemptions for competitive events, and the training thereof and in controlled conditions.
2. The Scottish Government recently published crime figures involving firearms, including air weapons, and the report is available here.