Air weapon laws to be reviewed in light of teenager’s death
- Credit: Archant
Air weapon licensing laws are to be reviewed after a teenager died when accidentally shot while playing with his friends in a village.
Ben Wragge (full name Benjamin), 13, suffered the wound to the neck while the airgun was being passed around between friends at an address in Old Post Office Lane, Thurston.Several people, including his mother, had attempted to revive Ben when the incident happened on May 1 last year.
An inquest into Ben's death was later held, with Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean writing to the Home Office to request a review of legislation covering the use and manufacture of air weapons, with a view to preventing similar tragedies occurring in the future.
Speaking in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Monday, October 9, policing and fire service minister Nick Hurd confirmed he would be meeting Ben's family later this year to listen to their views.
He said during the debate: 'I have recently written to the coroner and confirmed my intention to review the regulation of air weapons in England and Wales.
'I think that this is an appropriate time to take stock of the regulatory position and assess whether the current controls, which are already strong, continue to be appropriate and effective.
'I intend to look carefully at the existing controls on air weapons, including how best to ensure that these weapons are stored safely and securely.
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'I think that a review of air weapon regulation is important and timely, we will do so against a backdrop of existing controls that are, by all international comparisons, very robust.'
The debate was secured by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth after the serious injury in her constituency of 18-month-old Harry Studley in July last year, who was shot with an air rifle by a neighbour.
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The Home Office will determine the detail and scope of the review and has now published a revised edition of the Home Office guidance leaflet for air weapons users.
The leaflet will be available online and will also be distributed to readers of Airgun World and Airgunner. It advises on the laws and safety procedures to which all air weapon owners must adhere.