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Firearms Certificates Statistics, Scotland, 2001



1. Introduction

1.1 This bulletin presents information for the years 1992 to 2001 on the issue of firearm and shot gun certificates under the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended). A firearm or shot gun certificate permits the holder to possess one or more weapons, thus changes in the number of weapons legally held will not necessarily result in changes in the number of certificates on issue. The bulletin also contains information on European Community (EC) and non-EC Visitors' Permits and European Firearm Passes which were first introduced in 1994 ( see Note 10 of the Annex). Detailed tables can be found in the Appendix and further details of the Firearms Act 1968 ("the 1968 Act"), the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 ("the 1988 Act"), the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 ("the 1997 Act") and the Firearms (Amendment)(No.2) Act 1997 ("the 1997 (No.2) Act") are provided in the Annex of this bulletin.

1.2 Statistics on the number of crimes and offences involving the alleged use of a firearm in 2000 were published in The Scottish Executive statistical bulletin, "Recorded Crimes and Offences Involving Firearms, Scotland, 2000" in September 2001. The corresponding figures for 2001 will be published in a bulletin later in the year.


2. Summary

The figures detailed in this bulletin cover the period in which changes to the firearms legislation were made prohibiting, firstly, the possession of large calibre handguns (above .22 calibre) and thereafter small calibre handguns (up to and including .22 calibre). In addition, there was a hand-in period between 1 July and 30 September 1997 for the surrender of large calibre handguns and a further hand-in period between 1 February and 28 February 1998 for the surrender of small calibre handguns. (For further details please refer to Note 6 of the Annex).

  • There were 27,302 firearm certificates on issue at the end of 2001, a decrease of 5 per cent (1,476) on the previous year and the lowest number ever recorded.
  • In 2001, there were 1,323 applications for a new firearm certificate, an increase of 14 per cent when compared with 2000. 15 applications (1.1 per cent) were refused. The number of applications granted was 1,308, 156 more than the number in 2000.
  • There were 2,651 cancellations of firearm certificates compared with 2,752 in 2000 and 777 in 1999. The lower numbers of cancellations in 1999 can be partly attributed to the fact that 1999 was not a year in which renewal of certificates was required ( see paragraph 3.5). In addition, the police revoked 44 firearm certificates.
  • As at December 2001, there were 54,634 shot gun certificates on issue, a decrease of 7 per cent (3,993) compared with 58,627 in 2000, and the lowest number ever recorded.
  • The number of applications for a new shot gun certificate was 1,840 in 2001, 209 (13 per cent) more than the number recorded in 2000. Permission was granted for 1,806 new shot gun certificates, an increase of 227 from the 1,579 granted in 2000. 34 applications (2 per cent) were refused. There were 5,618 cancellations and 81 revocations of shot gun certificates in 2001.
  • The 27,302 firearm certificates on issue at December 31 2001 covered approximately 59,129 firearms (0.5 per cent increase on 2000). The 54,634 shot gun certificates on issue covered approximately 121,472 shot guns (2 per cent decrease on 2000).
  • There were 273 registered firearm dealers in Scotland in 2001, compared with 278 in 2000. In 2001, 178 dealers had their request for renewal of their registration granted.
  • The number of applications for Visitors' Permits from both EC and non-EC residents in 2001 totalled 2,584 for firearms (down from 3,293 in 2000) and 4,776 for shot guns (down from 5,589 in 2000).
  • The number of European Firearm Passes on issue at the end of 2001 was 559, compared to 557 in 2000.