There has been a strong surge in new shotgun and firearm certificates issued by the police in England and Wales, according to analysis of the latest figures published last month.

The Home Office’s Statistical Bulletin “Firearm Certificates in England and Wales 2008/09” was published on 25 March. The figures within, according to analysis by BASC’s firearms department, show the highest year-on-year rises in certificates on issue for both shotguns and firearms since records began in 1968.

Encouragingly, the figures for 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. Firearms 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 figure for firearms is the highest it has been since figures were first collated in 1995 — at that time, 413,600 weapons were covered by certificates.

The rest of this article appears in 14th April issue of Shooting Times.

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