71. Under these proposals, anyone possessing one of the estimated 500,000 air weapons in Scotland will in future require a certificate if they wish to continue to hold these weapons. We need to inform weapons holders of the change in the law, both in the run up to the change, and on an ongoing basis. Our aim will be to ensure that everyone in Scotland hears this message at least once before the new regime comes into effect.
72. We believe that air weapons in Scotland are largely held by three main groups of people:
- Regular/competitive shooters who are likely to be well informed about licensing through shooting organisations and the shooting media. We need to ensure that they are receiving the correct information, but targeting them should be relatively straightforward.
- Casual shooters who are unlikely to be part of any formal shooting network. This includes younger, urban air weapon owners, and will be one of our primary target audiences.
- 'Accidental' air weapon owners – those who have old or inherited weapons in the attic etc, and may not even realise they own a firearm. We need to ensure that the message doesn't pass them by.
Rest of UK/World
73. We will need to convey the message to the rest of the UK and beyond that if individuals want to bring an air weapon into Scotland they will need permission. It is important to have a campaign which grabs the attention and makes people aware of the message. We are currently considering a number of media formats. The Scottish Government will, as a first measure, ensure that full and up to date information on this issue is prominently displayed on our own website.
74. Many of the shooters crossing the border are likely to be sportsmen/professionals, who will receive notice through shooting organisations of the changes. We will work closely with the gun lobby and shooting interests to look at advertising through shooting clubs and venues, or at point of sale, for example on pellet tins. In addition, we will engage closely with VisitScotland, holiday and other travel organisations to ensure their websites carry accurate information.
75. Further afield, we will also work with the Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK Border Agency, airports, ports etc to advise them of the new requirements and to ensure that they too disseminate up to date information. Travellers are familiar with checking local laws and permit requirements before travelling abroad, for example, to obtain a visitor's driving permit. Whilst it will be important to ensure that such information is readily available, we do not believe that the new arrangements for air weapon permits need cause any significant problems for visitors.
Question 18: How else might the message be spread?