An MP who was a victim of an air gun attack has called for a total ban on the weapons, days after the Government tightened legislation.

Bradford North MP Terry Rooney said the updated laws did not go far enough and wants to see the streets free of the weapons "that can kill".

Four years ago the Labour MP was shot in the head in a suspected air gun sniper attack. He suffered injuries to his face as he left his south east London home for the House of Commons and was taken to hospital.

It is believed the attack was a copycat of the Washington sniper and was one of a spate across the area. Mr Rooney said of air guns: "They are lethal and there is no need for them. There is no utilitarian purpose to them and they are weapons that can kill. I was shot in the nose and it was traumatic. A few millimetres in a different direction and I could have been blinded. I want this looked at again."

Ministers have set a target for new laws cracking down on airgun misuse to be in force by January. The new controls on the ownership, sale and use of deadly weapons are included in The Violent Crime Reduction Act.

Home Secretary John Reid had originally hoped to get them in force by Christmas but a Home Office spokesman said commencement orders would be laid early in 2007. The Act will: l make it an offence to fire an air weapon beyond the boundary of premises l increase the age of ownership and unsupervised possession to 18 l require sale of air weapons by way of trade or business to be through registered firearms dealers face-to-face l make it an offence to make, import or sell realistic imitation firearms except for exempt purposes like film -making or historical re-enactment l make it an offence for under-18s to buy or be sold an imitation firearm l increase from six to 12 months the maximum sentence for carrying an air weapon/imitation in a public place without reasonable excuse.

A Home office spokesman said there were up to seven million air weapons in the UK, most of which are used for legitimate purposes, such as target shooting and vermin control.

He said it was an offence for anyone to have an air weapon in public without reasonable excuse or to possess an air weapon with intent to endanger life or to cause someone to fear violence. The Violent Crime Reduction Act increased the age limit for buying or possessing an air weapon from 17 to 18.