McArthur: “Misfire” sees thousands of air guns unaccounted for

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today revealed SNP ministers have no record of the location of thousands of air weapons awaiting licenses, describing it as “a serious misfire”. 

While thousands of applicants wait for certification, they have been advised “to keep their air weapon either with someone who has an air weapon, firearm or shot gun certificate, or a registered firearms dealer - to avoid committing an offence". 

However, in response to parliamentary questions from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson confirmed that there was no “record of stored, unlicensed air weapons.” 

The requirement to licence air weapons came into force at New Year. People waiting for their application to be processed have reported frustration at the length of time being taken to certify licenses. When the legislation was passed, ministers claimed the licensing system could be introduced “smoothly” and claimed there are “no overall delays” in dealing with firearms certificates. 

Mr McArthur said: 

"Scottish Liberal Democrats did not support this legislation because we felt that it was misguided and rushed through. Now it has become clear that SNP Ministers have seriously misfired in their attempt to clamp down on the misuse of air weapons. 

“With almost 400 applications from October or earlier still being processed, alongside thousands more from November onwards, we are now facing an enormous backlog of applications and an unknown certification completion date. 

“In the meantime, SNP Ministers have no idea where thousands of unlicensed weapons are being held while applications are in process. 

“This admission by the government will only further undermine public confidence in the SNP’s licensing regime.”

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