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Airgun-related Death and Injury in the United Kingdom and Its Countries
Definition and Selection Criteria
While most nations include airguns within their legal definition of firearms, the United Kingdom and its constituent countries do not. In Scotland, England & Wales and Northern Ireland, the law defines a ‘firearm’ almost exclusively as a ‘lethal’ handgun or rifle.1 Shotguns and airguns are separately described.2
As UK official statistics follow the same definitions, and to avoid larger distortions, GunPolicy.org excludes airgun-related mortality and morbidity from its ‘death and injury by firearm’ data for the United Kingdom and its countries.
Although this can cause small variations in country-to-country comparisons, several factors reduce the effect. Among them, UK rates of injury and death by genuine firearm are much lower than in most industrialised nations, as are death and injury by airgun.3 4