Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum by the Scottish Countryside Alliance



  In the absence of any oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee from Scotland, the Scottish Countryside Alliance would like to underline some of the points raised in our original submission. Since the submission of our original paper, our Shooting committee has had a very meaningful meeting with ACPOs, and the majority of the points raised in the following text have the agreement of ACPOs.


  The Scottish Countryside Alliance (Shooting Committee) and ACPOs feel that to consolidate existing Firearm Legislation before tying to amend or bring in fresh legislation would be the preferred way forward. With existing legislation the man in the street and very often the Policeman at the door does not have a full understanding of the complex laws and amendments to Acts and Bills which is required to make good understandable legislation. It is possible that members of the public could be breaking the law inadvertently.

  We understand that a simplified version of firearm legislation is already in circulation in some constabularies in Scotland, enabling the inexperienced Police Officer to have more of an understanding of his duties in relation to Firearms.

  We recommend a Consolidation Bill.


  In our original submission we asked that you pay particular attention to the subject of when young people could gain access to Air Weapons, Shotguns and Firearms. At our meeting with ACPOs we agreed that the definition that ACPOs had of "not allowing a young person to use an Air Weapon without supervision under the age where it was legal to buy an Air Weapon" was correct and would be supported by the majority of sporting organisations. Our fear has always been that if we cannot teach our young people at an early age, then we were likely to lose them from country sports altogether, and statistics show that when children are brought up in an environment conducive to country sports and under the direction of participants of country sports, then that child goes on to be a better member of society.

  We recommend that the age limit should not change.


  We discussed this point with ACPOs at our meeting, and it was decided that local knowledge was vital in assessing an applicant for a Shotgun or Firearm certificate. It was also agreed that in Scotland, we did not suffer the anomalies that occur between different constabularies as they do in England.

  The establishment of a central civilian authority for the registration of all Firearms linked by computer to all police authorities, would be the most satisfactory solution. We also feel that the inability of all authorities in Scotland (as well as in England) to have instant computer links sharing information with each other was of greater importance for public safety than any other alterations to the existing Acts.

  This central authority, apart from operating the registration, could also be an advisory centre for the police and could be the first port of call for any appeal, which would be preferable to legal appeals, which are very expensive.

  We recommend a central civilian authority.


  Since our original submission, various reports have been discussed in the sporting press, as to the implications of such an act. Without fail all sporting organisations are strongly in favour of the position that we took in our earlier submission. If you decide that one certificate makes the administration simpler, then it must be that firearms are consolidated on the shotgun certificate, as our priority has to be that the law abiding must not be penalised in the pursuit of political correctness. The emphasis must now move away from the weapon and onto the individual, if a person is deemed to be a suitable person in the eyes of the law to hold a number of shotguns, then that person must be equally as suitable to hold a firearm.

  The number of incidences of armed crime where a sporting rifle was used to perpetrate that crime is practically nil.

  We recommend that firearms and shotguns be combined on one certificate (shotgun restrictions).


  I would like to reiterate the statement made in our original submission, that the problem in Great Britain with firearms is not with the licensed firearms and shotguns, but with the easy access that the criminal has to illegal arms. You will be aware also that the majority of crimes reported in Great Britain are not in the rural areas, but in the inner cities and urban areas around our large cities. We must direct our energy in trying to put a halt to the use of illegal weapons and their circulation within the criminal element of society.

  Attached is a paper on the use and transportation of expanding ammunition, a paper written by the author with help from other experts in the field of Ballistics, I would urge you to take into consideration the information and recommendations contained within.

  Finally may I make a plea on behalf of all legitimate firearms and shotgun certificate holders? Please look at the evidence and when you report to the Government, tell them that bad legislation on top of bad legislation will not achieve anything.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 13 April 2000