The publication of new Home Office statistics in England and Wales, which show a significant decrease in new applications for firearms, may have a serious impact on shooting’s grassroots, warns BASC.
Covid-19 restrictions meant police forces only dealt with certain certificate grants, as home visits – a prerequisite to gaining a certificate – became non-essential. This has resulted in a significant drop in new entrants to the sport with application numbers plummeting.
The Home Office statistics show that new applications for firearm certificates and shotgun certificates were down 37% and 42%, respectively between April 2020 and March 2021. This equated to a total decrease of over 10,800 certificate holders compared to the previous year.
As of March 2021, there were 548,521 shotgun certificates on issue, the lowest number since statistics were first recorded in their current form in 2009.
There is no doubt that restrictions brought about by the pandemic presented serious challenges to normal licensing procedures, such as home visits for new applicants. However, with the restrictions easing it is now essential that licensing departments get back to full capacity.
We continue to work harder than ever to make promote shooting to new audiences, and hope to see those unable to apply for grants last year to do so now.
BASC’s dedicated firearms team are available to all members and are on-hand to assist with any query related to firearms and licensing. Click here to get in touch.
For the full press release, click here.