The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has welcomed the news that there has been a 17% drop in all firearms offences in Scotland.
There were 949 offences reported in 2008-09 compared to 1,144 reported in the previous year. Just under half of these offences (444) involved air weapons but this figure has dropped from 576 offences in 2007-08.
Despite the fact that there are now the highest number of both firearms and shotguns held by certificate holders in Scotland in the last 10 years (69,481 and 137,881 respectively) firearms such as rifles were only used in 12 offences and shotguns in 55. In contrast, prohibited pistols and revolvers were used in 137 recorded offences.
Further evidence of the law abiding nature of certificate holders and the tight security procedures they adopt is the fact that in 2008-09 the number of firearms stolen reached a 10 year low – with only three offences involving the theft of shotguns and two involving rifles.
BASC Scotland director, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “It is clear from these statistics that the Scottish Government, the Police, organisations such as BASC Scotland and responsible shooters are doing their best to reduce offences involving firearms. An overall 17% reduction and a 23% reduction in airgun offences shows that targeted campaigns, education and enforcement of existing legislation are all playing their part. We are particularly pleased to note that even when we have had recent increases in the numbers of legitimately held firearms and shotguns this has not been reflected in increased offences or thefts. We are, however, concerned that despite pistols and revolvers been banned in Scotland we now have a 10 year record in the number of recorded offences – 137 – which represents a 41% increase on the previous year.”