In a historical move towards stamping out cruelty to animals in Scotland, MSPs have passed legislation requiring all airgun owners in Scotland to hold a licence. The Scottish government pledged to introduce the licensing scheme following the death of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, who was shot dead by an airgun in 2005.
The Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill was passed by 92 votes to 17. Backed by major animal welfare organisations such as the League Against Cruel Sports, this marks a landmard achievement in fighting wildlife crime across the country.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We have a long standing commitment to reducing gun crime, and the licensing of air weapons has been central to that aim. It featured in our manifesto in 2007 and 2011, and the powers to regulate on air weapons were finally devolved to this Parliament in the Scotland Act of 2012.
“We have acted on this new power, consulting widely with experts and the public. Our proposals have not always been universally welcomed but we believe they strike the right balance between respecting the interests of those people who shoot legitimately for work, sport, pest control or leisure, and the need to ensure that those who misuse guns do not have access to them.”
Huge thanks to all who emailed, called or wrote to your MSPs. We did it!!!