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This week we reflect that the new airgun legislation in Scotland is an example of how not to do it.
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Misguided Scottish airgun regulations 

Since the Scottish Government announced plans two years ago to licence the estimated 500,000 airguns in Scotland, we have been vocal in our opposition. At the time, we pointed out that the legislation was needless, came against falling airgun crime statistics, would not make the public safer and was not welcomed by the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, who warned that a licensing system would be unwieldy and expensive.
 
Now, two years later, as the way is prepared for the Air Weapons Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2016 to come into force, calls for a reasonable and logical fees system have also fallen on deaf ears. This week, the Scottish Government published the regulations, due to come into force on 1st July. Sadly it looks as though owning an airgun will be as complicated and as expensive as owning a shotgun or firearm licence; the price of the Main AWC (air weapon certificate) fee is £72 for five-year certificate (see the fees section here.)
 
Neither these regulations and the charging of fees to legal airgun holders, nor an ongoing airgun amnesty, which suggests that having an airgun is somehow wrong, will have any effect on those who wish to use them illegally. We have repeatedly pointed out that new rules for the law abiding will never touch the criminal element at whom any legislation is aimed. 
 
This new layer of bureaucracy will add countless hours of work to already overburdened Scottish Police forces, whilst efforts to catch real criminals are neglected. We hope this serves to warn law makers outside of Scotland: proceeding with legislation against consultation advice or the warnings of experts will only end in failure. 
 
Tim Bonner
Chief Executive
Follow on Twitter @CA_TimB

A Q&A is available at www.airweapon.scot. Those who own or use an airgun must be aware that from 1st July 2016 you can apply for an air weapon certificate by downloading an application form from and sending it to Police Scotland.


Supporters with access to the Yorkshire Post should look at Saturday's paper for an exclusive article on Miles Cooper, the hunt saboteur who became a Master of Bloodhounds.
Kent Police & Crime Commissioner announces £39,000 to help clear firearms licensing backlog 

Newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Matthew Scott, has announced a £39,000 of new funding to address the backlog in firearms licensing that built up under his predecessor, Ann Barnes.
 
Research undertaken by the Countryside Alliance in the run up to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May had highlighted Kent Police as the second worst performing firearms licensing department in England and Wales. Despite data showing enormous delays in processing firearms licence renewals, the incumbent Commissioner Ann Barnes chose to issue statements concerning her personal views on firearms licence fees rather than addressing the issue.
 
During his candidacy, Matthew Scott contacted the Countryside Alliance shooting campaigns team in response to its research, expressing his disappointment with Mrs Barnes’ failure to address the problem and resolving to finance an efficient and effective licensing regime. Now he has been elected as PCC for Kent, the Countryside Alliance is delighted that Mr Scott has acted so quickly. £39,000 will ensure additional staff are available to clear the existing backlog of firearms licence renewals and applications, and a long term plan is in place to ensure such a delay does not build up again.
 
Countryside Alliance head of shooting campaigns Liam Stokes said: “Matthew Scott telephoned the Countryside Alliance shooting campaigns team personally to inform us of the new funding he was sourcing for firearms licensing, which shows how seriously he is taking this issue. During his campaign to become PCC Mr Scott was in touch to assure us that he understood the value of an efficient licensing system, and has now backed up his words with action. Efficient firearms licensing is a vital service to the shooting community, and is crucial in safeguarding the public. We at the Countryside Alliance will be following up our research to make sure all PCCs are taking seriously the responsibility to hold their licensing teams to account. They could do a lot worse than to follow Mr Scott’s example.”

Beagle pups stolen in Oxfordshire 

Horse & Hound reports: Three beagle puppies have been stolen from a hunt kennels in Oxfordshire.

The 1½ couple of 11-week-old puppies were out in the grass yard at their kennels near Oxford, on Bank Holiday Monday, 30 May, when they were taken at about noon.
Their kennel-huntsman, who lives on the premises, was at the kennels at the time of the incident. “The other beagles started to kick off in kennels so I immediately knew something wasn’t right,” he explained.

“I looked out towards the grass yard and could see two men but by the time I had got close they had climbed over the gate and escaped in a silver Ford Transit Connect that was waiting for them. “Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get near enough to see the vehicle registration details.” Read more on Horse & Hound's website here.

Newmarket Race for Repeal featured jockey: Stuart Radbourne – Farmer Stuart has been in the mastership of the Avon Vale for six seasons. He also field masters, hunts hounds and is an amateur whipper-in. He won our Race for Repeal at Ascot in 2014, drawing on his past as a point-to-point jockey to romp home 14 lengths ahead on the Richard Hannon-trained Red Refraction. You can sponsor him here

Masters, huntsmen and hunt supporters will go head to head on Newmarket’s famous July Course at the Countryside Race Day on Thursday 23rd June. The Race for Repeal is in aid of The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s charities and will be contested over eight furlongs at 1pm.

It's National BBQ Week - click for our Game-to-Eat campaign's recipe for barbecued venison steaks
Open Farm Sunday
 
This Sunday is Open Farm Sunday - the farming industry’s annual open day when hundreds of farmers all over the country welcome visitors onto their farms to discover the world of farming. Click here to find a participating farm near you.

Open Farm Sunday, managed by LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), is one of the farming industry’s biggest success stories. Since the first Open Farm Sunday in 2006, over 1000 farmers across the UK have opened their gates and welcomed people onto their farm for one Sunday each year. It is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old, to discover at first hand what it means to be a farmer and the fabulous work they do producing our food and managing the countryside. We wish all participating farms, and all visitors, a very enjoyable day.

 
Our 2015 Morgan Draw winner has recently picked up his bespoke car. You could be the winner of the 2016 draw - click here to enter. Tickets are £50 and only 2,000 have been released. NB there is a simple qualifying question.
Membership ticket offers for three summer shows
 

The Countryside Alliance is delighted to offer members special deals at three new shows taking place this summer – the deals are available below:

For a Countryside Alliance membership offer to TimeInc’s The Field & Country Fair taking place at Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, from 10-12 June, click here.

For VIP Tickets to the UK Game Fair due to take place at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire from 22-24 July 2016, click here

Countryside Alliance members get 25% off the ticket price for The Game Fair to be held at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire from 29-31 July. To get your discount call the ticket hotline on 0844 776 7777 or click here for the ticket page.

Follow us on Twitter @CAupdates for all your breaking show news.

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