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Proposals for Licensing Air Weapons in Scotland

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Hand In Period

57. Most air weapons have not required a certificate until now. While there have been certain restrictions, it has been relatively straightforward for most people to acquire an air weapon. In addition, there are many air weapons in Scotland which have been inherited, forgotten or have simply fallen out of use. Going forward, not everyone who has previously owned an air weapon will have a good reason to continue to do so, or wish to license the weapons they have.

58. A campaign will be launched prior to the introduction of certification, encouraging people who do not need or want their air weapon to hand it in to the police. We will also need to remind everyone to check their cupboards, attics etc. for any forgotten weapons that they should pass to the police.

59. Longer term, the Scottish Government accepts that there may be a number of air weapons held in Scotland which are genuinely "forgotten" or even unknown at present. This could happen for instance where a deceased relative has had an air weapon at some stage in the past, and has stored it in an attic or garage. Where such unlicensed weapons are uncovered in future we propose that they should be surrendered to the police, in line with existing practice for shotguns or other firearms.

60. Under the current arrangements, it is open to the police to issue a permit to the holder, to allow them to have possession of that weapon for a period and for a specific purpose, such as winding up an estate. The person may also, in certain circumstances, choose to apply for a certificate in their own right.

Question 14: Do you agree that there should be an appropriate hand in period for currently held weapons, in advance of the new legislation taking effect?

Question 15: Do you agree that it should be a matter for the police and prosecution services to take a view on air weapons handed in at a later date?

Question 16: Do you agree that it should be open to the police to issue a permit to allow the person to deal with "forgotten" air weapons or, in appropriate cases, to apply for an air weapons certificate?