Victim Andrew Morton. His mother has campaigned for an airgun ban, "Andrew's Law."

Murder victim Andrew Morton. His mother has campaigned for an airgun ban, “Andrew’s Law.”

It’s for the children — or maybe, really, for the child, singular. A toddler was murdered by an antisocial crumb using an airgun eleven years ago, and after a decade plus of wave-the-bloody-shirt publicity (and no further intervening homicides) the Scottish authorities have declared the devices contraband. Owners of the estimated half-million powderless peashooters in the quasi-country have from July to the end of the year to get a permit — which may or may not be issued, at the whim of police, and which requires them to prove, to whichever copper catches gun-ban duty,  a “need” for the toy.

“Justice” Minister Michael Matheson made it clear that his preference was confiscation; while a little work has been done towards preparing to issue certificated to the politically connected and anyone with a “need”, much more effort has gone into preparing what he calls a “surrender campaign,” where those who don’t want to roll the dice on PC Plod getting their paperwork back on time (if the cops fail to do so, the Scottish subject is automagically a criminal under this malum prohibitum law), can simply turn in their gun now without charges rather than wait for next year’s heavy-booted raid (with charges).


It will be a criminal offence to have an air weapon without a licence or permit from 31 December 2016.

Under the new legislation approved by Holyrood last June, anyone found guilty of the new offence could be fined or face up to two years in prison.

Owners will have six months to licence their weapons before the law changes.

They will be able to apply to Police Scotland for an air weapon certificate from 1 July.

However critics have raised concerns that it may prove an administrative challenge for the force.

It’s not a challenge if they’re not really planning to rise to it.

It is estimated that there are about 500,000 unlicensed air weapons in Scotland.

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) opposed the introduction of the new laws, claiming they were ‘disproportionate’ and that airgun offences were declining.

A spokesman said: “However, with the legislation now in place, and licences to be made available from July, we will do all that we can to help the many legitimate air weapon users in Scotland adapt to the new licensing regime.

“The six months ‘lead in’ period (before a certificate becomes a legal requirement) is shorter than we had anticipated and may present a challenge to Police Scotland staff, who will administer the new regime.”

So why the short lead-in time? You’ve had the shot, here’s the…


Police Scotland will also operate a “surrender” campaign, during which people can hand in unwanted weapons before the new legislation comes into force.

Banned in Scotland? They're working on it.

Banned in Scotland? They’re working on it.

When they were done coming for everything else, they came for the BB Guns. Lord love a duck.

We’re reminded of a scene from the English (definitely not Scottish) film A Hard Day’s Night, in which a Someone-Big-in-the-City-looking gentleman irritated by John Lennon informs him, “I fought the war for you lot,” in tones that make it clear he’s rethinking the wisdom of that.

“I bet you’re sorry you won,” Lennon deadpans.

The Scottish government pledged to introduce the licensing scheme following the death of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, who was killed by an airgun in 2005.

The two-year-old died after being hit on the head with an airgun pellet near his home in the Easterhouse area of the city on 2 March.

Matheson identified air guns as primarily criminal implements:

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This government has a long-standing commitment to eradicating gun crime in Scotland and this new legislation will better protect our communities by taking these potentially lethal weapons out of the hands of those who would misuse them.”

And he has made common cause with animal-rights extremists (yclept “animal welfare groups” in his statement) on this, and more:

He added that police, animal welfare groups and members of the public had to face the results of air weapon misuse every day.

mark_bonini_mugshotAirguns, you see, don’t let antisocial scumbags like the guy that shot Andrew Morton, one Mark Bonini (right). The airguns are what cause crime, and what made Bonini do it! (Bonini had been amusing himself shooting teenagers, and he missed his intended target and hit the toddler the target, Andrew’s brother, was holding.

He said air weapons caused anti-social behaviour, as well as injuries to wildlife, pets and occasionally people.

And he deploys the gun-banner’s favorite conjunction, the abnegatory “but”:

“We are not banning air weapons outright, but ensuring that their use is properly regulated and users have a legitimate reason for them,” he said.

via Airgun owners given six months to licence weapons – BBC News.

By the way, by our reckoning, which differs massively from that of Matheson, Police Scotland, and the BBC’s writers, it was Bonini who made the air gun do it. So what became of Bonini? You’ve had the shot, and the chaser… now it’s time for the…

Hangover: Sentenced in 2005 to “life,” the sentence in Scotland really means only 13 years, and so he’s almost out now.

Sharon McMillan, Andrew Morton’s mother, said at the time that the kid-gloves sentence for Bonini was “a joke.”

A 13-year sentence is a joke. Bonini will be just laughing at us.

As for his apology we do not accept it. He did mean it. He also meant to hit my 13-year-old son.

He will not see his wean’s first day at school. Well, neither will I, because my wean was murdered.

Of course, she has since focused on advocacy for an airgun ban, and so hundreds of thousands of airguns are likely to be confiscated from those Scots who didn’t do it, while the one who did will walk out of jail, free as a bird.

Maybe the Scots shouldn’t outsource policy-making to any irrational, bereaved mother with a bloody shirt to wave.

And maybe the Scots ought to seek a replacement for Matheson, whose reaction to a wretched and heartless murder is to punish the innocent and reward the murderer.

This entry was posted in Lord Love a Duck on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

21 thoughts on “Registration, Confiscation Coming for Scotsmen’s Airguns


When I was about 12 I was shot by some worthless little piece of shit with an air rifle. Had I caught the bastard there would surely have been a fatality, but he ran faster than me. It never occurred to me to even tell anyone what had happened, because those were different days I guess.

I’ve often wondered what sort of child would deliberately snipe a passing stranger, and what became of him. I’m hoping he became a heavy smoker….unfiltered Camels say…and that he died a slow and agonizing death with a lung full of cancer.


When I was 10 I shot a worthless little arsonist trespasser shit with my worn but trusty BB gun, as he and another were returning to the scene of their crime the day after….an awesome shot at the extreme range of 50m, if I do say so myself, though it did hit 6 inches high. I was aiming for his ample seat but left a lovely welt on the muffin top. He and his buddy never repeated the incendiary incursions on our land or the neighbour’s, and the revenge squad he sent also did the boltski when caught and bailed up. His indigenous baby-daddy showed up reeking of beer and spouting profanity and threats, and got the friendly “buzz off” from Dad. Apparently the firebug and his ancestor were well known to the local constabulary for various excitements, and while Dad was a charming and reasonable fellow a close look revealed this man had been places, met people, done things, and wasn’t about to put up with any nonsense. Some shoots are justified, no?

When you live in the bush, fires are no joke, and some folks insist on learning civility the hard way. These days such a heinous atrocity would of course be declared a terroristical racissst hatecrime, and result in a Swatting, arrest, confiscation, fines, and perhaps becoming a Ward of The State. The kid with the matches would receive a large compensation payout on top of the other freebies he and his ilk live on.

John Distai

Many years ago I had one of those nice German air rifles that look like, and cost about the same as your standard hunting rifle. That thing was powerful. I think it was rated around 900 fps. I sold it to use the money for something else. Big mistake. It was great fun to glue match heads on the pellets and shoot stuff. The pellets would explode when they hit the target. Loads of fun. These high end air rifles are popular in Europe, as many of them are made there.

One day I was driving home and I noticed a neighbor kid pointing his BB gun at his girlfriend. I stopped the car and went up to the kid and told him that as a gun owner I didn’t appreciate him acting careless, as it gives us all a bad name. I told the girlfriend that she should dump a guy who points a gun at her, even if it’s a BB gun. She said “he was just joking”. I failed to see the humor, but I can be pretty dull like that.


Scotland has had the English disease for too long. Many of the good ones emigrated.


Air weapons? Scraping the bottom of the barrel, aren’t they? The UK already has a 12J limit, which at least is better than the Teutonian 7.5J paperless boundary. The attraction of the PCP is there though….independence from nitropropellant & primers, useful for squirreling, training, or drilling out CCTV, drones and Stasi goon’s eyes; therefore they must be Verboten. Anyone remember Colonel Moran?

An interesting blog on my favourites list about airguns, with interesting rabbit-trails about shooting:


S the UK limit is 12ft lb not 12 Joules. So about 16 Joules. Shit but enough to keep an air rifle as a useful tool and fun toy.


Oops, there I went again. Should’ve known, since Walther sells stronger spring kits for the LGV…legal to own even here, as long as it isn’t installed without having a Waffenschein.

E Garrett Perry

William The Wallace and all the men who died at Culloden are spinning in their graves, to say naught of the Ladies From Hell who taught Fritz so many sharp lessons. Wire ’em up to dynamoes, run geothermal boilery into the surrounding rock (or glassified topsoil, the friction is a bitch) and you could rival the North Sea for sheer power-density.

They’re actually doing it. With the highest violent crime rate in the developed world (2x SOUTH AFRICA at one point a few years back), they’re registering and confiscating ball-bearing and pellet rifles. It’s got to be something in the water. Can’t be the beer, beer’s too good. Aqua Thames, on the other hand…vicious stuff, thousands of years of God knows whot down theah. Got to be the water.

E Garrett Perry

Aqua Forth, pardon me forever.

C. Harris

It is very clear that the Scottish Nazi Party want this to be about confiscations and prosecutions of any poor fool who misses the limited press releases. You would think they would be shouting thier victory from the roof tops but no its been very easy to miss the legislation being passed and there has been nothing much since then until police scotland made thier statement last week. Saddly it will mean the end of several family peices in my extended family unless we ship them off to the country branch of the family. I really don’t see urban dwellers being granted licenses but “living in ayrshire” will likely count as a valid reason.

Hognose Post author

We have similar problems in the USA in some highly urbanized, left-leaning states. Where the permit is “may issue” one may luck into a reasonable police chief or sheriff, and it is more likely out in the country.

Outside of the hardest-left environs, the “may issue” permit is dying here, and is down to approximately seven to ten states. But even in “Live Free or Die” NH, when you get police with a national socialist bent, they try to deny permits on whim.

(Hollywood often sets an episode of some TV show in NH, because they find “Live Free or Die” highly ironic. It’s not ironic to us, it’s freaking Scripture.)


Well, this reminds me of my country about 25 years ago, when all airguns were considered “weapons”, and subjected to registration and permit issued by Citizens Militia. Those were also the times when defence training was mandatory in schools, and that included shooting with airguns and rimifire rifles. Shooting was considered wholesome activity, when done within the state associated organization, but private ownership of any “weapons” was looked upon with suspicion, except for hunting purposes (rarity outside the rural areas, or families without genuine tradition or pretense) and collecting the antique firearms ( in workers utopia mostly restricted to people with unofficial financial means). People had this and that in gray area – if they got caught, they were likely to get toasted, but often it depended on how well they lived with local militiamen, who might or might not turn a blind eye to shooting pests or having thoroughly corroded mauser on the wall, as the purpose of this kind of law is often not really enforcement, but having an angle on someone who might get useful to the state or its functionaries. I guess communism just moved to Scotland, hope they will be as happy with it, as we once were.


Yeah, been there too 🙂 Hopefully I caught only last 14 years of it in person, and then the commies at least officially went away. And I guess this tight commie grip on weapons (and the same nazi grip before) still keeps our weapon laws at a very good level even in international comparision.

Now, we had 6 + 41 years of the leftist dictature in brown and red, and some more years to make the laws better. My guess is in ~2066, the Scots will own the firearms again 🙂

Hognose Post author

Citizens’ Militia… LM? I think you’ve mentioned where you are from before but that makes me guess Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Poland. OK if you don’t want to say, your ID and and nationality is your business. But I take delight in the international readership of


Citizens Militia is, in my case, translation of “Milicja Obywatelska”. I am thoroughly polished Polack from Poland.

Hognose Post author

OK, in Czech it was “Lidová Milicia”.


In the communist Czechoslovakia, at least the puniest pellet guns could be purchased just on legal age. The other question was, whether they were available in the local shops 😉


Lucky You! Every airgun was considered lethal weapon in Peoples Republic of Poland, because everyone needed a permit, just like for a firearm, so people treasured them in metal safes along with old double barreled shotguns and sporterized mosins (Bubba the gunsmith was alive and well in the form of OWG and OWJ – respectively the Military Workshops in Grudziądz and Jastrzębie, who would mess up nice wz 1944 carbines by butchering the stock and slapping on the german set triggers to produce handy, fugly and sometimes accurate hunting rifle). That seems to work well, since there were no attempts of the counterevolutionary coups armed with airguns, and airgun violence was close to non existent. On the other hand, the original firearms manufactured before 1850 were absolutely legal even when glorious comrade Stalin was alive, and some people shot them with blackpowder, either homemade, scrapped from fireworks or sometimes bought in aeromodelling shops or begged from licensed hunters. Things had improved exponentially in past twenty years.


I am fairly certain that the Scottish airsoft community is done. They had a reasonably well developed airsoft community back in the day. But that is pretty common places where you can’t have firearms and therefore 3 gun, IDPA, or other similar gun games. I have not checked in on those guys in a long time so I don’t know what has happened in the last 5 or 6 years. It would be one hell of a hard sell to get the local cops on board with you needing an airgun (often one that looks like a scary assault weapon) to dress up like a solder and shoot at your mates on the weekend.

I know a few years ago the British had some asinine advertising campaign about a little kid converting a plastic pellet pistol to shoot real ammo on accident. Said child wound up blowing his buddies brains out during a backyard game of cops and robbers. I am not too surprised about this as a result.

C. Harris

Just checked the wording of the new act and it appears airsoft should be OK appart from the introduction of a hard 1 joule limit on muzzle energies above which airsoft guns will be classed as air weapons and thus require a license.

The Scottish government were repeatedly refered to the ACPO guide lines that recommend a 1.3j limit for select fire and 2.5j limit for single shot airsoft peices but as us typical of the SNP goverment they ignored any and all advice on the matter. Thus scottish airsoft is now in the same boat as Northern Ireland. It’s hardly a death kneel but it is still not ideal.


That news is incredibly sad for the residents of Scotland, but here in the U.S. it is an eye-opening example of what the anti-gun activists aspire to when they promote “common sense” “reasonable” “gun-safety” regulation.