Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 16:37 UK

Shot toddler family issue warning

Rashid Ullah
Rashid Ullah remains critically ill in hospital

The family of an 18-month-old boy who was shot with an airgun in his garden have issued a warning over the weapons.

Rashid Ullah has been in a critical condition since Sunday's incident in Washwood Heath, Birmingham.

His five-year-old sister accidentally shot him after picking up the airgun, which her father had been using for target practice, his grandfather said.

"We hope anyone who has an air weapon realises how dangerous these guns can be," the family said in a statement.

The West Midlands force have said the incident appears to have been a "tragic accident".

The boy's grandfather, Bakht Rammand, said the child's father, Bakht Zaman, 29, turned his back on the children shortly before 1900 BST at the terraced house in Bennetts Road to answer his mobile phone.

Mr Rammand added that Rashid was "an active kid", who was close to his sister, and described the pair as being like "a gang".

On certification the government has already visited this subject and decided there is no need to consider the certification of airguns and we agree with that view
Geoff Doe, National Small-bore Rifle Association

Police said on Wednesday inquiries were ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Campaigners have called for legislation to register airguns and make their owners more liable for their weapons' misuse.

The Gun Control Network, which campaigns for tighter controls on guns of all kinds, has said such incidents were preventable.

But certification has already been rejected, according to the National Small-bore Rifle Association.

Geoff Doe, the organisation's director of shooting, said: "On certification the government has already visited this subject and decided there is no need to consider the certification of airguns and we agree with that view.

"In 2006 the government within the Violent Crime Reduction Act introduced tighter controls on the purchase and possession of airguns.

"This was enacted in October 2007 and it is too early yet to know what effect this has had on misuse of air rifles and air pistols."




SEE ALSO
Controls plea after toddler shot
26 Aug 08 |  West Midlands
Toddler shot with airgun critical
26 Aug 08 |  West Midlands

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