The number of shotgun certificates on issue in Scotland continued to grow for the third year running in 2009. There were 1,671 new certificates granted last year, giving a total of 50,308. The increase has been welcomed by the country’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Dr Colin Shedden, director of BASC Scotland, said: “This is the third year in a row that we have seen growing numbers of participants in shooting and reflects the trend recently reported from the rest of Great Britain. BASC Scotland has been actively encouraging participation in shooting for many years. Specialist courses and introductory events for young people and women in particular may now be contributing to this increase.”
“Shooting is an important part of the Scottish economy, contributing through tourism, agricultural and conservation benefits and through direct spending. Independent research in 2006 put the value of shooting to Scotland’s economy at £240 million per year.”
The figures, released by the Scottish Government, show that police forces approved 99% of new shotgun certificate applications in 2009. Colin Shedden said: “This overall increase in participation in shooting sports is welcomed by BASC, especially since the number of recorded offences involving firearms in Scotland fell by 17% in 2008-09, and only a small fraction of these offences involved legitimately held firearms or shotguns. Shooting remains one of the safest recreational activities and BASC Scotland strives to maintain these high standards through its courses and codes of practice.”
The number of firearm certificates in Scotland declined by 1% in 2009, whereas in 2008 they increased by 4%. Despite this decline some 1,112 new firearm certificates were issued in 2009, showing a continued interest in rifle shooting in particular.
Dr Shedden said: “While there was a small decrease in the number of firearm certificates on issue in 2009 this probably reflects the cycle of certificate renewal rather than a decline in interest. Deer stalking, which requires the use of a rifle covered by a firearm certificate, is one of the fastest growing areas of shooting sports.”