AIRGUNS are a menace and there are calls for them to be at least licensed or even banned.

Back in the day teenagers used to take pot shots at tin cans lined up on a fence but now it seems to be deemed “fun” to target defenceless animals, which is an absolute outrage.

Robert Miller and Katie Fowler were shocked and appalled when they discovered their ten-month old kitten, Jem, had been shot and had an airgun pellet lodged in her leg. Fortunately she will survive.

Mr Miller said: “Anyone over 18 can walk into a shop and buy an airgun without any background checks at all.

“I think we need licensing and regulation which already occurs in Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

He is quite right, too. Action must be taken.

Cats Protection is already behind a campaign to have airgun laws reviewed and The Argus firmly backs its campaign.

Airguns can maim and even kill cats and other small mammals and birds so a licensing system is the very least that should be introduced.

If it is then anyone caught with an unlicensed airgun in a public place can face the full force of the law. There is simply no excuse for animal cruelty.

Equally, it is important to stress, as Mike Byford of the Mile Oak Shooting Club says, that those who want to shoot in a responsible way for sporting purposes must do it in a safe environment such as a club.

Nevertheless, airguns are weapons and irresponsible use of them is extremely dangerous.

The targeting of animals cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.