Air GUNS, please

Air Gunner - - Your Letters - Dave Elkins

A lot has been writ­ten about the pos­si­ble in­tro­duc­tion of air­gun li­cens­ing in Eng­land and Wales since the law changes in Scot­land. One pos­si­ble ar­gu­ment against li­cens­ing is the sheer ad­min­is­tra­tive bur­den that it has in­flicted on the Scot­tish au­thor­i­ties. Of course, we can’t be com­pla­cent be­cause some might see li­cens­ing as a ‘vote catcher’. In the June edition of Air Gun­ner, you high­lighted the ef­fect that so­cial me­dia can have on the per­cep­tion of air­gun­ning.

How­ever, there are other as­pects that will in­flu­ence the pub­lic in their views. The term ‘air weapon’ is often used to de­scribe the guns we use, both for pis­tols and ri­fles. In fact, peo­ple in the air­gun in­dus­try use it. We have shops that in­clude ‘air weapons’ in their name, and prod­ucts. Most peo­ple, whether they are in­ter­ested in air­gun­ning or not, un­der­stand a weapon to be some­thing that is used to harm another per­son, which is part of its le­gal def­i­ni­tion any­way. So to see air­guns la­belled by the trade as ‘weapons’ will re­in­force their per­cep­tion that they should be rig­or­ously con­trolled. Beer bot­tles and kitchen knives are often favoured weapons, but they’re not re­ferred to as weapons un­less mis­used. The lo­cal hard­ware store doesn’t ad­ver­tise ‘kitchen weapons’ for sale. Is it time for all of us, in­clud­ing the air­gun in­dus­try, to start chal­leng­ing our­selves and each other about the use of the term ‘air weapons’, which gives the pub­lic the mis­con­cep­tion that our air­guns are in­tended to cause harm to peo­ple? Hello Dave You make a good point and we have a pol­icy at Air Gun­ner never to use the word ‘weapon’ when writ­ing about air­guns, even though they are re­ferred to as such in of­fi­cial leg­is­la­tion. We also dis­cour­age any busi­nesses with whom we have con­tact to do the same, such as when com­pa­nies send ad­verts for us to print.

The ma­jor­ity of the in­dus­try is in agree­ment with this, but we must not be com­pla­cent. Let’s all dis­cour­age the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween our sport and weapons ev­ery time we can. Ed.

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