Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by Andy McGarty (OWB185)

NC7: This new clause would amend the Firearms Act 1968 to prevent a person under the age of 18 from having an air gun on private land other than as part of a sporting club.

I am very concerned that this amendment has been badly thought through and will have no affect on current crimes.  Instead it will stop a number of safe and perfectly legal activities.

1) This would stop a number of leisure activities such as back garden target shooting perfectly safely carried out by parents with their children.  This can be one of the main introductions to safe air gun use for children.

2) Essential pest control carried out on farms and small holdings.  This can currently be carried out legally by anyone 14 and over as long as they have permission to shoot.  It would also stop apprenticeships for jobs such as trainee game keeper or pest controller.

3) A number of shooting 'taster' sessions are available at shows, fetes and exhibitions.  One of the UKs leading shooters started after taking part in the Air Arms Experience at the British Shooting show.

4) Several shooting activities take place in temporary safe air gun ranges.  Two examples of this are British Shooting's Target Sprint, often held at schools and British Shooting's School Pistol Championship, both of which are not shot at a sporting club. These are essential competitions for future Olympic shooters.  At Suhl, In Germany, this year at the Targer Sprint World Tour took place in the Town centre, on a temporary range.

5) Scouts hold a number of shooting events at their clubs and whilst camping.  The Scouting organisation have introduced a number of our current top GB shooters to the sport.

I can see no requirement for this change.  The law already ensures people can only shoot on private land where they have permission.  If they don't then they commit the serious offence of armed trespass, whatever their age.  There are also laws in place to ensure that pellets do not leave the private land.

September 2018


Prepared 12th September 2018