What Would Scottish Independence Mean for Scottish Gun Rights?

FlagofScotlandThe referendum on Scottish independence is coming on September 18, 2014, and it’s looking like independence is gaining momentum. I don’t have much of an opinion on the topic as an American, but I’d probably vote in favor of union if I were to have a say. There’s an awful lot of too good to be true promises being made by the Scottish government, and it strikes me that the Scottish government might be a good deal more socialist without having to compromise with less socialist Englishmen. But what affect would Scottish independence have on Scottish gun laws? The document is very (probably intentionally) vague:

    1. How will access to firearms be controlled in an independent Scotland?

The Scotland Act 2012 provided the Scottish Parliament with limited additional powers to introduce licensing for airguns. Work is underway by the Scottish Government to introduce a licensing regime for airguns in Scotland. However, Westminster has refused requests to devolve powers fully to allow decisions on the licensing and control of firearms to be taken in Scotland.

Independence will give Scotland full powers to control firearms in Scotland. Firearms legislation and licensing in an independent Scotland will be simplified, made easier for the public to understand and for the authorities to enforce.

They say they’ll make licensing easier. They don’t make clear whether they would ease the handgun ban currently imposed on Scotland. Given that the Scottish government claims to want to regulate air guns more thoroughly than does the UK (which leaves them relatively unregulated up to a certain muzzle energy, after which a Firearms Certificate is required), I wouldn’t be too optimistic that much of anything will actually change if I were a Scottish shooter.

I tend to think that Independence will make both countries weakener, and given that Tsar Vlad is on the march, I’d not think too highly of some pie in the sky nonsense like eliminating nuclear weapons.

15 thoughts on “What Would Scottish Independence Mean for Scottish Gun Rights?”

  1. It will be “interesting” if they split. Scotland wants to get rid of those icky nuclear ballistic missile subs that Britain bases there. The US subs are already long gone. It will be interesting to see whether Britain bases their subs in Britain or eliminates their sole nuclear weapon forces? My money would be on a nuclear free used-to-be Great Britain. Then the USAF bases will also be gone in another decade.

    Is there any doubt that the progressive socialists of Scotland will want to ban all guns? That is what socialists do.

  2. Everyone knows that you can trust a politician’s promises. Just ask any American Indian!


  3. Well, the process of applying for a license is certainly “simplified” if the default answer is “No”.

    After all, it’s a lot simpler to apply for a carry permit in Maryland than florida — if you can’t answer “Yes” to the question, “Are you a major donor to the governor’s campaign, or related to the head of the State police?”, there’s no point in going any farther in MD, whereas in FL, you have to do training, etc. . . ;-)

  4. The socialist, anti-republican Scottish National Party majority Scottish Parliment is in the process of making it HARDER to own an air rifle in Scotland.

    And First Minister and SNP leader Salmond is on record as wanting a total gun ban

    The chances of any liberty in Scotland post-Independence are thin and nay.

  5. Hi, Scottish reader here. Love the site.

    I think Geodkyt had it right: “Well, the process of applying for a license is certainly “simplified” if the default answer is “No”.”

    The airgun licensing scheme had a consultation where 87% of the people consulted called it “draconian” (actual quote) and called for it to be rewritten if not scrapped.

    The current range of questions include asking “Is it equitable for those applying for an air weapons certificate to pay a fee which cannot be refundable irrespective of whether a certificate is granted or not?”

    As a comparison, the current FAC application procedure refunds your fee if your application is rejected.

    Even the Airsoft groups (dont laugh please) are concerned, since the power limit at which a license will be needed is low enough to reclassify their guns as “airguns”, which seems intentional given they were excluded from the consultation.

    I’m worried that their modifications towards all of our gun laws will be more tailored to harm the law-abiding gun owners than do any good.

  6. “They say they’ll make licensing easier.”

    Correction: they say they’ll make licensing more “simplified”.

    And let’s face it, “No guns, no licenses, no exceptions” is MUCH more simplified and easier for a lay-person to understand than, “You can apply for a license ONLY IF [blah-blah-blah], BUT NOT IF [yakka-yakka-yakka], EXCEPT FOR [wah-wah-wah], but it is a CRIMINAL OFFENSE to [some-such-say-so], UNLESS [what-when-where].”

    It doesn’t, however, make it more fair.

  7. Here’s an honest question, applicable to more than just guns: We have a whole bunch of countries that became independent of came into existence for the first time, when the Soviet Union collapsed. Obviously few if any of them had a full set of new, codified laws in place, in time for that event. So, what did they do? I suspect they left Soviet law in place, until they had time to work the problem.

    Scotland’s position does not look all that unique in terms of recent history.

  8. Scotland elects so many socialists that there’s a real fear that without Scotland, the Labor party will lose its majority in GB. This bodes poorly for any gun ownership in Scotland, but presents a ray of hope for the rest of Britain.

    1. It would seem to be that Great Britain is done for if the Scotts vote yes. There might be a United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland, but the very definition of Great Britain includes Scotland.

      1. The definition of the U.K. includes Wales. Without Scotland the U.K. becomes England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

  9. “It would seem to be that Great Britain is done for. . .”

    ‘Tis an ill wind that does not blow some good.

    Next let’s see what can be done about that Northern Ireland thing.

  10. Would Scotland liberalize any of its gun laws were they independent from Great Britain?


    No, they wouldn’t.

  11. The odds of Scotland liberalizing gun laws fall somewhere between slim and none. Much of Scotland votes for the extreme wing of Labour, as noted above.

    Not a chance in Hades.

  12. I think some people see the tensions in Europe and assume it has to do with some kind of shift to conservatism and national pride. The reality is much of the anti-EU fervor in these countries has more to do with not wanting to have conditions on the money it borrows from the nations that are actually solvent (like Germany) and just want to continue living in their socialist utopia and pretend it’s not going to come crashing down at some point down the road. This is especially true in southern European countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece.

  13. They claim they will turn an independant Scotland to be more like Denmark. In Dk all citizens (if approved by the police) can get a gun license if they are active hunters, sports-shooters or gun-collectors.

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