McArthur reveals air guns license backlog

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP today a revealed a Scottish Government backlog of over 3500 air weapons awaiting licenses, describing it as “unacceptable”.

The requirement to licence air weapons came into force at the start of the 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.

However, in response to parliamentary questions from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson confirmed only 3,763 of the 5,278 applications received between 1 November and 31 December 2016 had been processed. Mr Matheson also confirmed that a further 2,011 applications were received after 31 December 2016 and also await processing.

Mr McArthur said: 

"Scottish Liberal Democrats warned the Scottish Government that this legislation was misguided and rushed through, but they didn’t listen. Now it is coming back to bite.

“We already know that SNP Ministers have no idea where thousands of unlicensed weapons are being held while applications are in process, now we know the scale of the problem.

“It is simply unacceptable that over 3500 air weapons are awaiting processing and with no end in sight. No one should need to wait six months to get a license

“SNP Ministers desperately need to restore confidence and get their licensing regime sorted.”

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