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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 15:21 GMT
Ministers to monitor airgun laws
Scottish ministers will review the laws in 2009
Scottish ministers have set out a two-year time frame to test the effectiveness of laws to curb the irresponsible use of airguns.

The move came after senior police officers told the Scottish Executive that a total ban on use of the weapons would be a disproportionate response.

Mr McConnell has previously said it would be wrong to rule out such a move.

However, ministers are to review the new UK airgun legislation in a year's time and again in spring 2009.

The laws, due to come into force this year, will bring in a range of measures to tackle airgun-related problems - an issue reserved to Westminster.

These include curbing their sale, lifting the age limit for owning airguns from 17 to 18 and tightening the law on firing them from private property.

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) said the new legislation was "tough" and was the correct approach, according to a Scottish Executive spokesman.

The idea of a review of the law in 2009 is way short of what is now required
Tommy Sheridan MSP

Senior officers said the laws would also help provide clearer evidence on the scale of the problem.

The remarks came following a meeting between Acpos, Mr McConnell and Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson.

The executive spokesman said ministers would "review the position in spring 2009, as to whether the legislation is having the desired effect" and focus on enforcing the new measures in the meantime.

Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan, who has introduced a bill at Holyrood calling for a ban on airguns, said the curbs brought in by the new legislation would be "mocked on the streets of Scotland".

He added: "The idea of a review of the law in 2009 is way short of what is now required."

Mr Sheridan has called on the executive to introduce Andrew's law - named after two-year-old Andrew Morton, who died after he was shot in the Easterhouse area of Glasgow in March 2005.

Sharon McMillan and her son Calvin
Sharon McMillan said more immediate action was needed

Andrew's mother, Sharon McMillan, 36, who has been campaigning for a change in the law, said she was angry with the executive's strategy.

She said: "By the time 2009 comes, there may be more deaths. We need action to take airguns off the streets now."

James Scott, who speaks on Scottish issues for the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, welcomed the executive decision.

"This is exactly what we had hoped for," he said.

SNP justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill said his party would, in government, lay a framework for a firearms act designed for Scottish circumstances.

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