THE NUMBER of shotguns, firearms dealers and items held on firearms certificates in Scotland have reached record highs, official figures show.
There were 142,142 shotguns held in Scotland at the end of March, 219 more than last year and a 10% increase in the last decade.
The number of firearms dealers has increased by almost a third in the last decade to 358, with an increase of eight in the last year.
The number of items held on firearms certificates has increased by 44% in the last decade to 91,863, up 7,505 in the last year to a record high.
These include 44,267 rifles, 87 under lever and 13 bolt action carbine weapons, 195 muzzleloader rifles and 482 muzzleloader handguns, 251 air rifles and 107 air handguns.
There were also 805 handguns including single shot humane killers, used in animal slaughter, shot pistols and trophies of war.
The rise in items held on firearms certificates has been described as “artificial” by Scotland’s chief statistician due to the universal inclusion of “sound moderators”, also known as silencers, in firearm certificate statistics.
Silencers are subject to certification but only Strathclyde and Fife legacy forces included them in their certificate figures, but the move to the single police force has led to standardised recording in all regions.
The vast majority (7,100) of the increase can be attributed to the number of miscellaneous items in the legacy areas that have included sound moderators for the first time, the statistician said.
There were 26,101 firearm certificates on issue at the end of March 2014, a slight increase from the end of 2013 but lower than the figure in 2005, meaning there are now more guns concentrated in fewer hands.