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South west air weapon ‘surrender’ tally passes 470

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
South west air weapon 'surrender' tally passes 470

POLICE have received 6,000 air weapons nationally during the first fortnight of their ‘surrender' campaign with more than 470 from the region.

The Scotland-wide total contrasts with one estimate that 500,000 such guns and rifles are in circulation north of the border.

Assistant Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Mark Williams, said: “I’d like to thank those responsible members of the public who have given up weapons they no longer wish to keep or license.”

Most main police stations in Dumfries and Galloway have trained officers to receive air weapons until the campaign ends this Sunday, June 12.

Under Scottish Government legislation anyone wishing to retain their air gun or rifle after December 31 will require to be licensed.

This will entail being vetted by the police, supplying referees and, if approved, purchasing certificates on a regular renewal basis.

From January 1, anyone in possession of an air weapon without a licence will face prosecution with penalties of a fine or up to two years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, at Holyrood, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to ensure the national force receives additional funding to deal with the new laws.

She responded that Police Scotland was satisfied it had resources in place and Justice Secretary Michael Matheson would write to Mr Mundell with details.

The local MSP said: “In rural areas, there are farmers and others who are reliant on having an air weapon and firearms licences and they should be reassured that the resources are in place to deal with this new legislation.”

Scottish Ministers have budgeted £2.4 million over five years to deal with an estimated 20,000 air weapon licence applications.

 

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