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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Airgun sales 'to be restricted'
Air gun (generic)
Proposed restrictions would apply to places selling airguns
The UK Government is to impose tighter controls on airguns following the murder of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, BBC Scotland has learned.

The Home Office could confirm as early as Thursday plans to restrict the sale of weapons to registered gun dealers.

Firearms legislation is reserved to Westminster but the Scottish Executive has been lobbying for the law on the sale of air weapons to be tightened.

The changes would be included in the UK Violent Crime Reduction bill.

Police licence

There was outcry when two-year-old Andrew was shot and killed in an airgun incident near his home in Easterhouse in March.

His parents led calls for an outright ban on air weapons.

First Minister Jack McConnell promised action and put pressure on the Home Office to review the law.

Originally options such as an outright ban or a strict licensing system for owners of airguns were considered.

However, Home Office minister Hazel Blears told BBC Scotland: "We are looking at the practicalities now, about where the sales currently take place. What we want to try to make sure is that people can't buy airguns on a market stall or through mail order."

The new legislation could impose strict curbs on airgun retailers, forcing them to obtain a police licence.

It might also force dealers to record the details of every gun sold and of every purchaser.

Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton, two, died in March after he was shot in the head

The Scottish Executive, which proposed the change, confirmed that the planned restrictions would be UK-wide and apply to places selling airguns rather than on ownership.

Scottish National Party Holyrood leader Nicola Sturgeon said the executive had failed to deliver on its promise to take tough action.

She said: "A strict licensing scheme, covering the sale, purchase and use of airguns is the only effective way of dealing with this problem.

"Not only is Jack McConnell powerless to act himself, he has manifestly failed to persuade the Westminster government to take the strong action that he promised.

"Only by giving the Scottish Parliament full powers to deal with airguns can we deal comprehensively with the issue."

Tory justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: "It is for the first minister to explain whether these measures meet up to the tough rhetoric of just a few months ago."

See what is proposed

Calls continue for airgun curbs
09 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Airgun case prompts system anger
11 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Pressure mounts for airgun action
10 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Total airgun ban 'not ruled out'
05 Mar 05 |  Scotland

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