The father of a victim of the devastating school shooting in Dunblane has hit out at plans for a shooting range which will use automatic weapons.
The mass-shooting at Dunblane Primary School, Stirling, killed 16 children and one teacher in 1996 and led to a ban on handguns across much of the UK.
Doctor Mick North lost his five-year-old daughter Sophie in shooting and has been left devastated by plans for a shooting range to open in Falkirk – only 20 miles away from the scene of one of the country’s worst tragedies.
Black Eye Reality are seeking an entertainment license from Falkirk Council to operate the range which will allow customers to get their hands on deactivated rifles, pump action shotguns and Glock pistols.
The firm’s website states it is the only shooting simulator in the UK using real converted weapons and similar systems are used to train police officers and military personnel.
Mick, heard about the Black Eye Reality shooting range through his work as a member of the Gun Control Network.
He said: “I have to say I’m disgusted at the thought that anyone can take pleasure from this type of activity and that there are those who wish to make money from it.
“Looking at the pictures on their website it’s clearly being sold on the basis that people will get a kick from using real guns, and the presence of a child in one of the photos is particularly worrying.
“It feels like a step backwards to a gun culture that I’d hoped had diminished in Scotland following the handgun ban.
“This ought to be something just for training the military and police.”
David Alexander, Falkirk North SNP council candidate, said he has had a number of complaints from people about the use of real firearms at the range.
He said: “In today’s climate this shooting range is something which I don’t want to see in our area.”
The shooting range is the brainchild of ex-serviceman Barry Mitchell, who states on the website he served for five years as a driver in the Royal Logistics Corps.
Mr Mitchell said: “These weapons were deactivated in America and they have gone through the secretary of state gun proofing house in Birmingham where each one is checked and given a deactivation certificate.
“Basically they are just paperweights that look like real weapons. They can never be real weapons again.”
Mr Mitchell said Police Scotland officers had inspected the weapons and had no concerns about them.
He added: “We had an open day that went really well. I’ve actually had beat cops who have never handled weapons before say they want to give this a try.”
A Police Scotland spokesman stated the force was not in a position to comment on the matter at the moment because the application was still in the early stages with Falkirk Council’s licensing board.