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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Nationalists call for gun control
Pressure is growing for a ban on airguns
Nationalists are launching a petition calling for the control of firearms to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish National Party argues that Scotland needs its own Firearms Act to restrict the sale and use of real and replica weapons and airguns.

Two-year-old Andrew Morton was killed by an air gun pellet in Glasgow earlier this month.

The SNP petition, which was launched in Dundee and Aberdeen, says that the threat from all guns is increasing.

Licensing system

SNP justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill said all the Scottish Executive had done was produce a glossy leaflet.

First Minister Jack McConnell has said that doing nothing about airguns is not an option in Scotland.

He promised to hold discussions with the Home Office about introducing a licensing system for airguns or banning them completely.

Examination of the gun laws is taking place at the Home Office in London because firearms legislation is a Westminster responsibility.

Fake weapons

Last week, Mr MacAskill led a debate at Holyrood calling for a specific Scottish act to deal with the issue.

He argued that it should pull together the laws on rifles, shotguns, pistols, airguns and replica guns.

He said all guns, including replicas, should be licensed because of the number of fake weapons used in crimes.

There was agreement among MSPs that the controls on airguns need to be toughened and that Westminster must act.

A 27-year-old man has appeared in court accused of firing an air weapon or similar instrument at Andrew Morton, who died after being struck on the head by a pellet.

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