Cops call for Scots gun amnesty amid rise in 3D printed arms and Ukraine war

Fears have been raised about 3D guns
-Credit: (Image: PA)


Scotland would benefit from a first major weapons amnesty in 30 years, law enforcement experts say.

The Scottish Police ­Federation and the Law Enforcement Action ­Partnership (LEAP) are calling for measures to get firearms out of circulation and make the streets safer.

They say new technology, the dark web, terrorism and the war in Ukraine mean illegal weapons remain a danger to communities.

Simon McLean, chair of LEAP Scotland, said: ­“Explosives and weapons of every ­description are becoming prevalent again in our communities.

“An amnesty for all types of weapons would be a fantastic idea to make our ­communities safer.”

He said unregistered weapons used to be the main issue but that the problem is “much wider now because methods of ­importation and communication are growing”.

He added: “You can print a gun now, a single-use gun. People can go on the dark web.

“We have single-use firearms which are basically explosives going off.

“We have a whole range of firearms now that are much more dangerous.”

McLean, who played a major role in a large-scale Scotland-wide gun amnesty in 1993, added: “The job of policing now is focused on organised crime and the profound effects of crime on our communities across the nation.

“One of the priorities of making our communities safer would be to reduce the amount of weapons available to those involved in crime of all ­descriptions.

“Firearms are being imported alongside the drugs trade.”

Scottish Police Federation chairman David Threadgold, 49, believes an amnesty covering weapons including blades such as swords and knives could make neighbourhoods safer.

He said: “There are people that will take a legally held firearm and use it for ­criminal activity.

“We’ve got to get that balance right, of course, and the impact on the police is that they don’t potentially have to deal with that type of crime. The impact on the police and community could be significant.

“If everything else is in place, bearing in mind that the SPF is the voice of every police officer in Scotland, I don’t think you would have a single cop who would not advocate against potentially making our ­community safer.”

SPF general secretary David Kennedy said: “If we don’t get guns off the streets the reality is that we are moving closer to police officers in Scotland carrying firearms.”

McLean also runs a Crime Time Inc podcast with retired Lothian and Borders chief constable Tom Wood.

In 1993, he played a key role in helping remove firearms from circulation, including an assault rifle which had been imported illegally from Argentina.

He said: “An informant said he knew where a Kalashnikov was but he wanted money. I was told to offer him ­something ludicrous like £20.

“I think we gave him 50 quid in the end because the guy was so difficult and we chipped in £20 ourselves. He told us a Kalashnikov would be in a bin in Motherwell behind a pub. We went out there expecting it to be nonsense and sure enough there was a gun in the bin.

“If somebody has a firearm in their house these days and they don’t know what to do with it, let’s give them an out.”

There were almost 20,000 offensive weapon crimes recorded by police in Scotland between 2021 and 2023, and 273 firearm offences were recorded by the Scottish Government in 2021-22.

Gun-related homicides have gone down thanks to robust intelligence gathering.

Any amnesty would need the approval of the Crown Office and Police Scotland.

However, a source said: “The way things are at present there might not be anywhere for people to take their guns.

“So many police stations have closed down for budgetary reasons.”

SPF chairman Threadgold said: “An amnesty might be an opportunity for some people to come to a police station and talk about what is happening in their area.

“If we can play a part in that then we will because it is not just of benefit to me as a cop but as a citizen of Scotland.”

The Crown Office and Police Scotland were approached for comment.

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