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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 14:37 GMT
McConnell may push for airgun ban
Andrew Morton and Graeme Baxter
Airgun victims Andrew Morton and Graeme Baxter
The first minister may press for a ban on airguns if legislation restricting their sale and use proves ineffective.

Jack McConnell said police chiefs will be given the chance to show that new legislation is working.

He told MSPs during First Minister's Questions: "I believe it would be wrong to rule out a total ban on airguns."

His comments were made as two families of airgun victims delivered a petition signed by 11,000 people calling for a ban on personal ownership of airguns.

Relatives of two-year-old Andrew Morton, from Glasgow, and Graeme Baxter, 32, from West Lothian, handed in the petition to Holyrood.

Andrew Morton's murderer was over 18, the new law would have done nothing to stop him getting his hands on an airgun
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
SNP Holyrood leader

Andrew Morton died after he was shot in Easterhouse in March 2005.

Mark Bonini, 27, was jailed for his murder.

Andrew's mother, Sharon McMillan, 36, is campaigning for a change in the law.

She joined Jacqueline Jack, whose brother Graeme was killed in an airgun incident in East Calder last April.

Ms Jack said: "They should sit up and listen to us, we don't want any more families going through what we've had to go through.

"I don't think Graeme would've been shot if there was a licensing scheme in place."

Second anniversary

Last year, new legislation went onto the statute book UK-wide, curbing the sale of airguns, lifting the age limit for owning airguns from 17 to 18 and tightening the law on firing airguns from private property.

Mr McConnell said he would meet with police forces this month to ensure they are implementing the new measures.

"We will monitor how they do it and if that is not successful in the longer term of course we keep open the option of further discussions with them, moving towards registration or bans," he said.

SNP Holyrood leader Nicola Sturgeon began her weekly question time session with Mr McConnell by noting it was the second anniversary of Andrew Morton's death.

She said that even after the new legislation came into force, there were no restrictions on the ownership of airguns by those over 18.

"Andrew Morton's murderer was over 18. The new law would have done nothing to stop him getting his hands on an airgun," she said.

"If we are to stop a tragedy like that happening again, we must now put restrictions not just on the people who can sell airguns but also on those who can own them as well."

Solidarity party leader Tommy Sheridan has lodged a bill in the Scottish Parliament calling for the weapons to be made illegal.

Jacqueline Jack and Sharon McMillan call for a ban

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