Firearms data shoots down notion of rise in gun ownership

Commonwealth Games 2014 Barry Buddon near Carnoustie.'Picture: Paul Reid
Commonwealth Games 2014 Barry Buddon near Carnoustie.'Picture: Paul Reid
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New figures show the number of shotgun certificates issued has fallen by around 1,000 over the past nine years although numbers of those successfully applying to own a firearm has remained roughly the same.

As of 1 October, there were 54,435 individual firearms and 107,646 individual shotguns legally registered with police.

These weapons are registered to holders of 26,112 Firearm Certificates and 48,941 shotgun certificates holders.

The Highlands has the highest number of certificates granted by police, with 6,905 issued in total. These include 2,243 for shotguns and 859 for firearms.

There were 502 certificates issued to owners holding both types of weapons and an additional 3,301 “co-terminus” certificates authorised. These bring all weapons under one document, which expires at the same time.

In Aberdeenshire, 6,232 certificates were issued in total and in Dumfries and Galloway, gun owners had 4,283 certificates issued to prove their weapons were legally owned. In the Borders, police issued 3,378 certificates to owners of shotguns and firearms.

Dundee had the lowest number of certificates issued at 311, with small numbers recorded in West Dunbartonshire (317), Renfrewshire (477) and Glasgow (492).

Certificates are generally granted for rifles required for country sports, vermin control or target shooting with owners having to prove “good ­reason” to have the weapon. Good reason could include having authority to shoot over land or membership of a shooting club.

Owners of firearms have to prove on each purchase they have good reason to own the weapon but shotgun owners only have to meet the standard once.

Good reason could include having authority to shoot over land or membership of a shooting club. Earlier this year, MSPs passed legislation requiring all airgun owners in Scotland to hold a licence.

This followed lobbying from the parents of Glasgow toddler Andrew Morton, who was shot dead by an airgun in 2005.

Chief Inspector Fraser Lamb, of Firearms and Explosives Licensing, said the Shogun system allowed easier tracking of weapon holders across Scotland.

He said: “It is a one-stop database of all those who are certificated to possess guns and ­explosives in Scotland and gives police officers and police staff access to information no matter where the certificate holder stays in Scotland.

“The system also allows for the more effective use of resources insofar that processing centres can send applications or renewals to all the divisions in Scotland. Inverness for example can manage and assist in the processing of Aberdeenshire applications.”