Air GUNS, please
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.