Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Manager defends opening imitation firearm shooting range in Edgware Road

The manager of a new imitation firearm shooting range in Paddington has moved to reassure residents and traders of its safety.

The Range opened in Edgware Road last month, offering people the chance to practice shooting plastic pellets from 'airsoft' firearms on an 8.5-metre range as well as selling accessories such as holsters and belts.

The shop does not sell 'airsoft' guns, as they require the holder to have a licence.

Manager Benny Sootho said: "The most these guns can do is make a hole in a piece of paper or, if you shot it at a person, he might have a mark that resembled a pimple.

"We don't have anything to do with real shooting and we would not be able to do this if we were using live ammunition, especially in a busy city centre like London.

"People can come here to practice shooting using plastic pellets.

"We don't sell airsoft guns, but if someone comes in and has an airsoft pistol, they can come here to see how the sight works and they can try it out.

"If you were to purchase an airsoft gun, which we don't sell, you would have to have a licence because these are replica firearms."

He added: "If somebody was to use an airsoft gun in a public area, that's a crime.

"I can understand that there's always a fear whenever people mention anything to do with guns.

"But shooting is an Olympic sport and it has been around for a long time before we opened."

Edgware Road trader Asif Sheikh, of Pharmacare, said he did not think the shop was appropriate for the area.

He added: "This is right in the middle of the community and it would be better to have a separate area for this type of businesses.

"We will not be going there."

Kurt Frances, of The Cooker Centre, in Edgware Road, said: "I don't think it will make a huge difference to crime in the area because it's just a sport.

"They're not using real firearms."