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Proposals for Licensing Air Weapons in Scotland

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Trade Impacts

67. It is estimated that there are currently 500,000 air weapons in circulation in Scotland. The Scottish Firearms Consultative Panel has worked on estimating the current position in the gun trade. It is impossible to predict exactly how changes to legislation will affect the trade, but it is understood that there could be a significant impact. Reports suggest that some air weapon dealers have noted a decrease in sales since the speculation began on the possible licensing of air weapons in Scotland following the Scotland Act2012.

68. The Firearms Certificate Statistics Scotland 2011 stated that there were 347 registered firearms dealers in Scotland at the end of 2011. The work of the Panel suggests that 114 of these trade in air weapons, with 43 of these being air weapon-only outlets. In addition, it is worth noting here that a considerable percentage of air weapon sales and transfers – probably more than half – are private sales between owners, and would not involve registered dealers.

69. The average cost of an air weapon is estimated to be £119. Around 40% of sales cost £150 or more – but costs can vary widely, from much less than £100 to several hundreds of pounds.

70. Air weapon outlets in Scotland each sell around three air weapons per week, with a retail sales value of £20,500 per outlet, per annum. On these estimates, the likely total retail sales value of air rifles and air pistols per year is in excess of £2 million. This does not include the cost of pellets, targets, scopes, clothing etc, which may be substantial.