Published: 00:00, 07 December 2001
KENT MP Jonathan Shaw is vowing to fight on after a setback in his bid to stop youths with airguns shooting people and animals. The Labour member for Chatham and Aylesford wants to raise the legal age for unsupervised use of airguns from 14 to 17.
Youngsters are behind the majority of airgun attacks on animals, according to the RSPCA. Worst to suffer are cats, swans and ducks. Most do not survive the attacks.
The MP has also received reports of youths injuring elderly people with airguns. In July, Mr Shaw launched a Private Member's Bill in the Commons to raise the legal age for use of airguns. But the Commons' ran out time to discuss the bill last Friday and it has been put back to May.
Undaunted, Mr Shaw wants to raise awareness of the threat posed by youths to animals and people. He said: "Airguns are potentially lethal weapons. Large numbers of animals are injured and maimed every year."
Mr Shaw's bill is strongly supported by the RSPCA, which says the south east has the highest number of airgun attacks on animals in the UK.
Stuart Farmer from the RSPCA said: "Animals can suffer horrific, slow deaths from people deliberately shooting at them with airguns."