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Scotland launches gun amnesty

Scotland launches gun amnesty
By Alice Tidey
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Residents must hand in all undocumented replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, realistic imitation firearms, components parts and other ballistic items before July 1.


A two-week firearms amnesty started in Scotland on Monday, which police hope will put a stop to guns falling into criminal hands.

People have until July 1 to hand in replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns, realistic imitation firearms, components parts and other ballistic items even if they do not have the proper paperwork for them.

Police will not ask them to provide any personal information including names but they have stressed that they reserve the right to investigate the history of any weapon, if appropriate, to establish whether it had been used in any crime.

“What we want to do is remove firearm availability from the criminals that operate right across the country,” Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said in a statement.

“The people that will discharge firearms within the criminal world show an utter disregard for the safety of our communities and the safety of our citizens, so one of the things this campaign hopes to achieve is to remove a whole bunch of weapons that could do significant harm if they fell into the wrong hands,” Higgins also said.

Gun crime in Great Britain

Anyone wishing to lawfully acquire a weapon in Scotland must obtain a Firearm Certificate for which they must have a "good reason". They are usually granted for rifles required for sports/vermin or target shooting.

Compared to the rest of Great Britain, Scotland has a low gun-crime rate.

According to official statistics, there were 332 offences involving firearms in Scotland in the year ending 31 March 2016. That was down 7% from the previous year and averaged 2.8 non-air firearm offences per 100,000 head of population.

In England and Wales, 8,399 such offences were recorded in the same period, a year-on-year increase of 7%. There were 9 firearm offences per 100,000 inhabitants.

In London, a significant rise in gun crime has been recorded by the Metropolitan Police in the past three years.

In the 12 months to October 2017, more than 2,500 offences involving guns were recorded in the British capital, a 16% increase on the previous year and a 44% increase on 2014.

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