There has been a surge in new shotgun and firearm certificates issued by the police, according to an analysis of latest figures from the Home Office by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). The figures, which relate to 2008/2009, show the highest year-on-year rises in certificates on issue for both shotguns and firearms since records began in 1968.
Shotgun certificates reversed a declining trend, with a five per cent rise on the previous year. In 2008/9 there were 574,956 shotgun certificates on issue – an increase of 25,739 from 2007/8. Firearm certificates also showed their highest rise, of eight per cent; an increase of 10,200 to 138,728. In total there were 453,383 firearms and 1,366,082 shotguns registered on police-issued certificates in March 2009.
The number of registered firearms dealers is now also at its highest since 1988, thanks in part to the requirement for all airguns to be sold through registered dealers.
Mike Eveleigh, BASC senior firearms officer, said: “This increase reflects the growing popularity of shooting sports and its recognition as a growing leisure and sporting activity and an essential means of pest control. With the introduction of the national database for firearms licensing, these figures should give a more accurate picture of the state of legitimate shooting in the UK than we have seen before.”