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New offence keeps airguns under lock and key

  • Published: Thursday, 27 January 2011

From 10 February, owners of airguns could face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to take reasonable precautions to stop unauthorised access to their airgun by people under the age of 18.

Improving airgun safety

Ways to keep your airgun safe include:

  • storing your airgun out of sight and separately from pellets
  • using a robust, lockable cupboard and keeping the keys separate and secure
  • always storing your airgun inside a house rather than in an out building, such as a garden shed
  • never storing a cocked or loaded airgun
  • keeping your airgun under close supervision when in use and never leaving it unattended

Safety leaflets informing new owners of the offence will be also be included with every airgun bought.

Home Office Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire said: "For the vast majority of responsible airgun owners, keeping their weapon safely locked up is routine. But when an airgun is allowed to get in to the wrong hands the consequences can be tragic.

"Although serious incidents are rare, there have been cases in recent years where children have got hold of carelessly stored airguns that have resulted in severe injuries and even deaths. We want to do everything in our power to keep the risk of such incidents to an absolute minimum."

Adrian Whiting, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on Firearms and Licensing said: "Responsible owners already take sensible precautions to ensure safe storage of their air weapons. This control will place no additional burden on them.

"Sadly, there have been deaths caused by air weapons and frequently the victims are children. For those owners who have a lax attitude to storage, this provision should encourage them to take action to improve safety."

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