With airgun licensing in Scotland, only 1 in 20 have been accounted for

With a deadline looming in Scotland to register airguns and obtain a license to keep them, only about 25,000 of the estimated half-million guns in the country have been accounted for.

The new Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act is set to come into effect at the end of the year and officials are urging anyone who currently has one in their possession to make plans to get a license for £79.50 (about $100) following an investigation and background check to allow them to register the dreaded devices that have been the weapon of choice in fatal cat shootings in the Isles.

Of course, some 87 percent of those who responded to the proposed legislation in 2013 felt it was “not needed or is not likely to be effective,” but that did not stop lawmakers seeking to save lives.

Maybe that is why the government is reporting a very low compliance with the new law. As noted by the BBC last week, Scottish police officials advise just 17,069 weapons had been handed in and 8,320 people had applied for a license with scarcely a month left before the deadline.

“Every one of these weapons has the potential to cause serious injury or death, in particular to children or young people if handled incorrectly,” said Chief Inspector Mike Whitford of the Divisional Coordination Unit in Tayside in a statement by Police Scotland in associated with the surrender program. “I would encourage anyone who has such a weapon to consider if they are likely to apply for a certificate under the new legislation and if not, hand it in to one of designated stations.

“It will remove the risk from their family and other members of the public. Finally, if you are carrying a weapon to a police station, please keep it in a bag to avoid causing alarm.”