Scotland

Police Scotland begin two-week firearms amnesty

Old guns Image copyright Getty Images

Police Scotland has launched a firearms amnesty, intended to stop weapons falling into the hands of criminals.

Anyone who has a gun or ammunition without a valid certificate can take them to one of 43 police stations.

No-one will be prosecuted just for possession of a weapon if they hand it in during the amnesty.

Officers have stressed, however, that this immunity does not apply to offences linked to the weapon before it was handed in.

The amnesty will last two weeks, ending on 1 July.

Armed criminals

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: "What we want to do is remove any firearm availability from the criminals that operate right across the country.

"There have been a lot of high-profile incidents in recent times and we want to reduce the opportunity for individuals that are intent on using firearms within our communities to actually come into possession of these weapons."

He added: "The people that will discharge firearms within the criminal world show an utter disregard for the safety of our communities and the safety of our citizens, so one of the things this surrender campaign hopes to achieve is actually to remove a whole bunch of weapons that if they fell into the wrong hands could do significant harm."

During the amnesty, people will also be able to hand in replica firearms, air weapons, BB guns and imitation firearms.

Safe surrender

The campaign has been backed by Justice Secretary Michael Matheson.

"Firearms offences are at historically low levels in Scotland," he said. "Nonetheless, there is always a risk that unused or unlicensed firearms could fall into the wrong hands.

"I therefore welcome Police Scotland's campaign to remove unwanted weapons from our communities, and would urge anyone who has a firearm that they have no good reason for keeping to take this opportunity to safely surrender it to the police."

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC has clarified the extent of the amnesty.

He said: "Anybody surrendering a firearm or other relevant item during Police Scotland's two-week campaign will not be prosecuted for simple possession of the item.

"The immunity only applies to handover of the weapon and not to any other offence it may be linked to after examination."

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