The rise applies both to shotguns and other types of weapons held under firearms certificates.

The number of certificates increased only slightly last year but the number of actual weapons held under those certificates went up.

BASC’s director for Scotland, Dr Colin Shedden, said: “Although these are the figures for 2008, we are aware that the trend towards increased participation in shooting sports is continuing. Firearms licensing managers frequently tell us of the growing number of applications that they have been dealing with both last year and this year.”

Senior firearms officer for BASC, Mike Eveleigh, said: “It’s a shame the Home Office is unable to match the speed and efficiency of the Scottish Government in producing these statistics. We have asked for a meeting with the Home Office to try to resolve the problems we experience with their late, incomplete and sometimes inaccurate figures.”

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