1 June 2016 – Airgun licences in Scotland will cost just as much as a full-blown shotgun certificate, new laws have revealed.
The Air Weapon Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2016 state that the price of a new Scottish airgun licence will be £72 and last for 5 years. The new system comes into force from 1 January 2017.
Existing firearm and shotgun certificate holders will be billed £5 for an air weapon certificate (AWC). Visitors from the free areas of the UK will be charged £20 for a visitor permit, with group permits covering between 5 and 20 people costing £100.
Under-18s will pay a reduced fee depending on their age, but the AWC will only last until their 18th birthday. This allows the state to cream off more licensing fees from young adults, as well as saddling them with an increased burden of costs and need to renew – a naked attempt to force them out of the shooting sports.
The Countryside Alliance said: “Calls for a reasonable and logical fees system to the new air weapons licensing system have fallen on deaf ears,” with their Scottish director, Jamie Stewart, adding:
“Despite an overwhelming opposition to this needless legislation the Scottish Government are moving forward with their draconian policy of licensing Air Weapons. Neither these regulations and the charging of fees to legal air weapon holders, nor the current ‘scare-mongering’ amnesty, will have any effect on those that wish to use air weapons illegally. Sadly after making this point on numerous occasions to the Scottish Government they have refused to listen.”
Airgun owners can apply for an AWC from 1 July this year. Possession of an airgun without a Scottish AWC will be a criminal offence north of the border from 1st January 2017.
BASC has, despite evident problems at its HQ, published a Q&A about the process including a full table of fees. It notes: “It may in fact be easier to get a shotgun certificate than an air weapon certificate. If you have ever thought about getting either a firearm or shotgun certificate now is the time to apply.”
Scottish authorities clearly expect a breakdown of the firearm licensing system, as the new laws state that anyone who has applied for an AWC by 31st October this year will not commit a criminal offence if they do not have a certificate by the start of 2017.