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Fears new gun laws could kill off Aberdeenshire’s ‘wild west’ tourist draw

Alistair Baranowski has created his own corner of the wild west in the north-east
Alistair Baranowski has created his own corner of the wild west in the north-east

An Aberdeenshire cowboy has taken aim at Scotland’s gun laws by penning a letter to candidates at the upcoming Scottish election.

Alistair Baranowski created his own corner of the wild west in the north-east with the building of his Tranquility attraction near Huntly in 2005, which often plays host to TV cameras.

But Mr Baranowski now says he fears a new airgun law could mean High Noon for his tourist draw amid fears that new air gun legislation will mean they will be unable to use realistic looking replicas for their “gun fights”.

Now he plans a showdown with Scottish Government chiefs, saying the cowboys would look “ridiculous” if they had to round up villains with wooden guns during their filming.

Anyone in Scotland who owns an air gun without a licence or permit after December 31 will face a fine or in some cases imprisonment of up to two years.

In the rest of the UK, licences for the weapons are not required.

In his letter to local Aberdeenshire West Holyrood candidates Mr Baranowski writes: “Upcoming changes to Scottish firearms laws make us wonder if we could be totally overlooked in future and our hobby destroyed.

“During our performances and reenactments or movie making we use blank fire imitation western guns.

“Presently the law permits us to use these out at Tranquility for our theatrical, reenactment and movie making purposes.

“Considering however that the Scottish Government are going to require licences for air guns later this year, we fear that these blank fire guns could be affected in some way in future by failing to be given adequate consideration.”

But a Scottish Government spokeswoman last night said the new law should not affect the Tranquility shoot-outs.

She said: “The guns described by Mr Baranowski, as ‘blank fire guns which do not fire projectiles’, are not classed as air weapons and as such are not covered by the new Act.

“That type of weapon falls under reserved firearms legislation which is dealt with by the Home Office.”

But Mr Baranowski believes laws governing firearms should be generally relaxed in Scotland.

He added: “In a free society we should be able to protect ourselves, it isn’t the gangsters or terrorists who get licenses for their guns.

“While it might be air guns now it seems they are moving towards all guns for citizens.”

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