Following confirmation by Police Scotland that 40,000 firearms are licensed in the Highlands and Islands John is continuing to question the arming of local police.
The figures on gun ownership were provided at the request of Highland Council and most are held by farmers and on shooting estates.
Police Scotland maintain that the policy of routinely arming a small number of police officers in the region is ‘the right thing to do’.
Speaking on the figures, John said:
“The two issues [levels of gun ownership and routinely arming police officers] are totally and utterly unconnected. It’s a bit like saying the number of road accidents is dependant on the number of cars.
“Those figures are quite spurious and perhaps the most alarming thing is that having spent decades reassuring the public about gun ownership, suddenly the police are taking up the issue. Who gave all those people the authority to hold guns? The very police force that is now having to put into place measures to address any issues that may arise.
“The reasons behind the success of policing in the Highlands and Islands has been the level of community engagement and, quite simply, people are less likely to engage with an armed officer.
“If the current assessment shows the need for routine arming of a small number of officers, why do they need to be openly armed when arrangements can, and indeed do, exist for firearms to be covertly carried?”