The Government has seen off a small group of MPs – Karin Smyth, Louise Haigh, Vicky Foxtrot – who tried to sneak in a ban on children using airguns.
The Government already wants to ban .50cal rifles and Mars action rifles because it believes that the almost zero criminal activity from legal gun owners is causing the current explosion in knife and gun crime in UK cities. As a result, it is trying to railroad through the Offensive Weapons Bill.
Anti-gun MPs are taking advantage of the bill and have proposed clauses to be added to Section 23 of the Firearms Act 1968 to stop anyone under the age of 18 from having an air gun on private property other than as part of a sporting club.
Among the reasons they gave for the law was the child shot by an air rifle that was already illegally kept because it was not under lock and key. Their plan was to introduce more laws because the existing ones were being broken.
The MPs have now agreed to remove modifications VC7 and VC8 about airguns from the bill. The battle for gun owners to prove their responsibility is not over. The government promises it is looking at what law changes surrounding air guns may be required.
Airgunners are writing to their MPs to point out that this will stop a number of safe, fun, leisure activities including:
- Back garden target shooting perfectly safely carried out by parents with their children. This can be one of the main introductions to safe air gun use for children.
- Essential pest control carried out on farms and small holdings. This can currently be carried out legally by anyone 14 and over as long as they have permission to shoot.
- The shooting ‘taster’ sessions available at shows, fetes and exhibitions. One of GB’s leading medal-winning shooters started after taking part in the Air Arms Experience at the British Shooting Show.
- Shooting activities that take place in temporary safe air gun ranges such as Target Sprint championships. Target Sprint is likely to be a future Olympic sport.
- It will also stop most of the current shooting that the Scouts do. The Scouts is one of the leading feeder organisations to competitive shooting in the UK.
See NC7 and NC8 in this document: publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2017-2019/0232/amend/offensive_rm_pbc_0830.15-21.html
Thanks to Andy McGarty for sending in this story.