New Home Office figures reflect the growing popularity of shooting sports with an increase in the number of firearm certificates issued in 2014/5 compared with the previous year. Overall the number of firearms held on certificate is the highest recorded since statistics were first compiled in 1995.
Welcoming the figures the British Association for Shooting and Conservation said that they show an encouraging trend, and although the number of shotgun certificates issued has marginally decreased this is more than compensated by the increase in firearm certificates. At the end of March there were more than 1.3 million shotguns and 525,000 other licensed firearms
There are 153,603 Firearm certificates on issue compared with 151,413 in 2013/4. This is the highest figure since 1988. Meanwhile revocations and refusals of certificates were down from 0.3 per cent to 0.2 percent.
BASC Council member Peter Glenser said: “The continuing growth of our sport is clearly reflected in these figures and it is particularly encouraging to see that revocations and refusals are down, even though some forces have attempted to reduce the number of certificates in their area. At BASC we’ve made great efforts to ensure that access to the sport has fewer barriers and that newcomers are welcomed so the increase in certificates is particularly gratifying.”
Mike Eveleigh, senior firearms officer at BASC said; “It appears that a large proportion of the rise in firearm certificates comes from the increase in the popularity of the target shooting sports, with many clubs reporting that they are at or near the maximum number of members they can manage – this is very encouraging.”