Holyrood to pass air weapon and strip club licensing bill

Holyrood to pass air weapon and strip club licensing bill

MSPs are today expected to pass the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill into law.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government said the bill was introduced to fulfil their “long-standing commitment to eradicate gun crime in Scotland”.

If passed today, it will create a new offence related to using, possessing, purchasing or acquiring an air weapon without holding a valid air weapon certificate, which the proposed law says can be awarded to applicants over the age of 14.

However, under-18s would only be able to use air weapons in certain circumstances and would be unable to purchase them.

The bill also includes broader licensing reforms for pubs, taxi firms and scrap dealers, as well as giving local authorities the power to reject applications for sexual entertainment venues on the grounds that there are too many in the area.

The move was endorsed by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government Committee, though it also identified a “loophole” which may see strip clubs circumvent the law.

The committee said venues which hold four or fewer “sexual entertainment events” per year would be exempt from the new regulations, prompting worries that performers could move from venue to venue to avoid the law.

There have also been calls from Labour MSPs to include provisions preventing 16- and 17-year olds from working as cleaners or in administrative roles in strip clubs.

A government spokesman said: “At the very heart of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill is this government’s aim to support and encourage legitimate businesses whilst protecting public health and safety and empowering our communities.

“It will reduce metal theft by strengthening a licensing regime for scrap metal dealers, introduce more robust alcohol provisions for pubs, clubs and retailers, and gives local authorities the powers to decide on the numbers of sexual entertainment venues in their area.

“We also have a long-standing commitment to eradicate gun crime in Scotland.

“Offences involving air weapons accounted for almost half of all offences involving a firearm in 2013-14.

“Every day police and animal welfare groups have to face the results of air weapon misuse, from anti-social behaviour to horrific and deliberate injuries to wildlife and pets.”

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