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Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015

Section 29 – Forfeiture and disposal of air weapons

107.This section allows a court to order the forfeiture or disposal of any air weapon in the possession of someone who has been convicted of any offence introduced by this Part. Subsection (3) allows a police constable to seize the weapon(s) in question, and subsection (4) allows the Chief Constable to apply to a sheriff to dispose of the weapon(s) in any manner the Chief Constable sees fit, for example by sale at auction, destruction by scrap metal dealer, or transfer to a museum if the weapon is of historic or other significance.

108.Subsection (5) provides that a court may not order the forfeiture or disposal of an air weapon which is possessed by a museum following a conviction for an air weapon offence or where it was seized or detained by a constable. This provides for situations where, for example, a person is convicted of possession of an air weapon where he or she has stolen it from a museum, or a member of museum staff commits an offence with a museum weapon, so that the court does not inadvertently order forfeiture and thereby prevent the museum from getting return of an air weapon which may be of historic or other significance.

109.Subsections (6) and (7) set out what happens to air weapons where the Chief Constable has revoked an air weapon certificate, police permit or visitor permit on which they are held, but the holder appeals against that revocation. If the appeal is successful then the air weapons must be returned to their owner, and if it is not then the court may order their disposal as the Sheriff considers appropriate.

110.Subsections (8) and (9) set out what happens to air weapons where the air weapon certificate, police permit or visitor permit on which they are held has been revoked and the holder does not appeal, or withdraws their appeal. In such a case the Chief Constable and the owner of the weapon should seek to agree arrangements for disposal (for example, transfer to someone permitted to possess air weapons, or sale through a Registered Firearms Dealer). If an agreement cannot be reached then the Chief Constable may dispose of them as he or she sees fit, which may be by one of the methods outlined in paragraph 107 above. In such a circumstance subsection (10) requires the Chief Constable to notify the owner of the method of disposal, who may then appeal against the Chief Constable’s decision under section 34(2)(n).

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