Tavish Scott, Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, writes in today’s Scotsman contrasting the battle over gun control in the US to the consultation in Scotland over licensing of airguns.
Of the situation in the States in the wake of the awful Sandy Hook shootings last Christmas, Tavish writes:
But Obama senses a moment. The Connecticut shooting was so awful that pressure on Washington lawmakers is now intense. Last week, the president met Sandy Hook families who lost children and then flew them in Air Force 1 to Washington DC. These parents then met lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They asked for mandatory background checks on anyone buying a gun and restrictions on certain types of weapons. By any standards, the requests were reasonable. This was not a request for an outright ban on guns.
He then goes on to describe the situation in Scotland where the Government is consulting on airgun licensing following the death of a child:
Now the Scottish Government is consulting on licensing airguns. This follows the tragic death of Andrew Morton, two, who was hit by an air gun pellet in Glasgow in 2005. There were 514 firearm offences in Scotland during 2011-12. Of these, 195 involved an air weapon. The SNP’s parliamentary majority means that licensing will happen, but what will it achieve?
On farms, pest control and teaching the safe handling of weapons is necessary. But owning an airgun in a city is hard to understand. Licensing should stop drug addicts having an airgun. But licensing should not stop country kids growing up on farms being taught how to handle an airgun safely. Fortunately, however, this debate in Scotland is a million miles away from gun control 3,000 miles to our west.
You can read the whole article here. Sadly it’s already out of date after the vote in the Senate last night. I am not sure how they could, after the emotional, but entirely reasonable message from the mother of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook last December which is also available here on You Tube. The comments are an education as to the hostile and ugly nature of this debate in the US.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings