Country and western fan in the dock over gun collection

Maurice Cairns was wrongly told by friends that he did not need a licence for the firearms which could only shoot blanks.

A country and western fan who collected guns found himself on the wrong side of the law after police raided his home and seized seven weapons. 

On Friday, Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that 77-year-old Maurice Cairns, a member of the city’s Grand Ole Opry, was wrongly told by friends that he did not need a licence for the firearms.

Cairns had seven firearms without a licence at his home in Maryhill when police searched in June last year.

Defence lawyer Darren Fleming said: “Mr Cairns will be 78 in August and has very poor health.

“He has a large collection of country and western memorabilia and is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The guns he had formed part of his collection.

“He had received some questionable advice from friends that he did not require a licence for these guns, which is clearly wrong.

“They were purchased online from other European countries where the restrictions are not as onerous as they are in Scotland.”

Cairns pleaded guilty to “possession of weapons without the authority of the Secretary of State or Scottish ministers”.

The first offender also admitted seven charges of possessing a gun without a licence.

The court heard that police officers seized five blank-firing revolvers and two blank-firing self-loading pistols from Cairns’ property.

The weapons were unable to fire bullets due to hardened steel in the barrel of each gun. 

Although they were able to discharge blanks or irritant cartridges, none had ever been fired.

Sheriff Alan Mackenzie admonished Cairns of all charges due to “exceptional” circumstances linked to his age, his health and lack of previous convictions.

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