Gun crime

I was pleased, but not surprised, to read your report (28 May) on the increases in both firearm and shotgun certificates on issue in Scotland in 2003. However, the number of firearms certificates on issue is 26,605, 100 more than you report, and, using comparable statistics, there has been an increase in the number of offences since 1993.

In 2002 (the year when the most recent statistics are available), there were 20 crimes and offences involving shotguns, seven involving rifles and 32 involving pistols or revolvers. In 1993, the figures were 21, one and 12. The most worrying increase is the rise from 12 offences to 32 involving pistols and revolvers, that were banned from private possession in 1997 and 1998.

What politicians of all parties must realise is that, while small variations in the numbers of shotgun certificates may interest organisations such as the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (Scotland), they will not have any bearing on the levels of recorded crime involving firearms. Those intent on using firearms in serious crime - most commonly with "banned" pistols or revolvers - do not put themselves forward for police scrutiny under the current licensing system.

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Those wishing to enjoy sport shooting activities are more than happy to co-operate with the police and the licensing authorities.


Director, BASC (Scotland)

Trochry, Dunkeld


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