SCOTTISH ministers last night increased the pressure on their UK counterparts to hand over control of firearms to Holyrood.
Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, wrote to Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, asking for a clear timetable for legislation allowing the Scottish Executive to ban airguns north of the Border.
Firearms is one of the areas which remains reserved to Westminster and Scottish ministers are not allowed to legislate on the issue without the clear consent of the UK government.
We have been here before repeatedly and so luckily the legislation already exists - all we have to do is unrepeal it. (It would also have the added bonuses of outlawing tartan shortbread tins and the bagpipes...)
Act of Proscription 1747
An act for the more effectual disarming the highlands in Scotland; and for the more effectual securing the peace of the said highlands; ...
Whereas by an act made in the first year of the reign of his late majesty King George the First, of glorious memory, intituled, An act for the more effectual securing the peace of the highlands in Scotland, it was enacted, That from and after the first day of November, which was in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixteen, it should not be lawful for any person or persons (except such persons as are therein mentioned and described) within the shire of Dunbartain, on the north side of the water of Leven, Stirling on the north side of the river of Forth, Perth, Kincardin, Aberdeen, Inverness, Nairn, Cromarty, Argyle, Forfar, Bamff, Sutherland, Caithness, Elgine and Ross, to have in his or their custody, use, or bear, broad sword or target, poignard, whinger, or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon, otherwise than in the said act was directed, under certain penalties appointed by the said act; which act having by experience been found not sufficient to attain the ends therein proposed, was further enforced by an act made in the eleventh year of the reign of his late Majesty, intituled, An act for the more effectual disarming the highlands in that part of Great Britain called Scotland; and for the better securing the peace and quiet of that part of the kingdom; and whereas the said act of the eleventh year of his late Majesty being, so far as it related to the disarming of the highlands, to continue in force only during the term of seven years, and from thence to the end of the next session of parliament, is now expired; and whereas many persons within the said bounds and shires still continue possessed of great quantities of arms, and there, with a great number of such persons, have lately raised and carried on a most audacious and wicked rebellion against his Majesty, in favour of a popish pretender, and in prosecution thereof did, in a traiterous and hostile manner, march into the southern parts of this kingdom, took possession of several towns, raised contributions upon the country, and committed many other disorders, to the terror and great loss of his Majesty's faithful subjects, until, by the blessing of God on his Majesty's arms, they were subdued: now, for preventing rebellion, and traiterous attempts in time to come, and the other mischiefs arising from the possession or use of arms, by lawless, wicked, and disaffected persons inhabiting within the said several shires and bounds; be it enacted by the King's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of August, one thousand seven hundred and forty six, it shall be lawful for the respective lords lieutenants of the several shires above recited, and for such other persons as his majesty, his heirs or successors shall, by his or their sign manual, from time to time, think fit to authorize and appoint in that behalf, to issue, or cause to be issued out, letters of summons in his Majesty's name, and under his or their respective hands and seals, directed to such persons within the said several shires and bounds, as he or they, from time to time, shall think fit, thereby commanding and requiring all and every person and persons therein named, or inhabiting within the particular limits therein described, to bring in and deliver up, at a certain day, in such summons to be prefixed, and at a certain place therein to be mentioned, all and singular his and their arms and warlike weapons, unto such lord lieutenant, or other person or persons appointed by his Majesty, his heirs, of successors, in that behalf, as aforesaid, for the use of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, and to be disposed of in such manner as his Majesty, his heirs or successors shall appoint; ...