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Statistical Bulletin: Crime and Justice Series: Firearm Certificates Statistics, Scotland, 2008

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3. Commentary

3.1 Firearm Certificates ( Tables 1 to 3)

  • There were 26,416 firearm certificates on issue at the end of 2008, a rise of 1 per cent from 2007. This is the first time since 2004 that this number has increased on the previous year.
  • The number of firearms held on certificate increased from 66,893 in 2007 to 69,481 in 2008 (see Annex Note 9). The number of firearms held on certificate in 2008 was 11 per cent higher than in 1999, and the highest number in the 10 years covered by this bulletin.
  • In 2008, there were 1,043 applications for new firearm certificates, a decrease of 13 per cent compared with 2007. The vast majority (1,030 or 99 per cent) of applications were granted, with 13 applications (just over 1 per cent) being refused.
  • In 2008, 1,698 firearm certificates were renewed, representing nearly 100 per cent of all applications. Only 1 application for renewal was refused in 2008.
  • There were 653 cancellations of firearm certificates in 2008, compared to 1,327 cancellations in 2007 (see Annex Note 10). In addition, 31 firearm certificates were revoked in 2008. The number of successful applications outnumbered cancellations, thus increasing the number of certificates on issue at the end of 2008 compared to the previous year.

Chart 2 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of firearm certificates, Scotland, 1999-2008(1)

Chart 2 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of firearm certificates, Scotland, 1999-2008(1)

(1) Figures for 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2008 are affected by changes in regulations. See Annex Note 10.

  • Over a quarter (7,200) of all firearms certificates on issue at the end of 2008 were in the Northern police force area. Grampian police force area contained the second highest number of firearm certificates (4,619), followed by Strathclyde (3,736) and Lothian and Borders (3,656).
  • The number of firearm certificates on issue per head of population was highest in the Northern police force area (2,521 per 100,000 population) and lowest in Strathclyde (169 per 100,000 population).
  • The 26,416 firearm certificates on issue at 31 December 2008 covered the possession of 69,481 firearms. In addition, the certificates on issue authorised a further 8,254 firearms to be purchased or acquired (see Annex Note 9).
  • Eighty-two per cent (see Table 3, caveat 5) of certified firearms where the type of weapon was known were rifles (possessed or authorised to be purchased or acquired).

3.2 Shot Gun Certificates ( Tables 4 to 5a)

  • There were 50,022 shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2008, an increase of 2 per cent from 2007.
  • The 50,022 shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2008 covered the possession of 137,881 shot guns, an increase of 3 per cent compared to 2007, and the highest number in the 10 years covered by this bulletin.
  • The number of applications for a new shot gun certificate was 1,749 in 2008, 8 per cent lower than the 2007 figure of 1,891. There were 1,716 successful applications in 2008, compared to 907 cancellations.

Chart 3 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of shot gun certificates, Scotland, 1999-2008(1)

Chart 3 New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of shot gun certificates, Scotland, 1999-2008(1

(1) Figures for 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004 and 2008 are affected by changes in regulations. See Annex Note 10.

  • There were 2,964 renewed shot gun certificates in 2008. Only 4 applications for renewal were refused, compared to 9 (see Annex Note 17) refusals in 2007.
  • In 2008, 907 shotgun certificates were cancelled, a decrease of 65 per cent compared with 2,608 cancellations in 2007 (see Annex Note 10), while 64 were revoked, an decrease of 23 per cent on the 83 certificates revoked in 2007.
  • Strathclyde (9,060), Grampian (9,029) and Northern (8,816) police force areas jointly accounted for more than half of all shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2008.
  • The number of shot gun certificates on issue per head of population was highest in Northern police force area (3,087 per 100,000 population) and lowest in Strathclyde (410 per 100,000 population).

Chart 4 Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December 2008 per 100,000 population(1)

Chart 4 Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December 2008 per 100,000 population(1)

(1) Population figures: GROS mid year estimates 2007

3.3 Firearm Dealers ( Tables 6 and 7)

  • There were 327 registered firearms dealers in Scotland at the end of 2008, an increase of 9 per cent from the 301 registered dealers at the end of 2007.
  • In 2008, 67 dealers had their request for renewal of registration granted compared to 143 (see Annex Note 17) requests granted in 2007. The number of dealers applying for renewal was much lower in 2008 than 2007, mainly due to the 3 year registration period cycle for dealers. See Annex note 13 for more details. There were no refusals for new registration or renewal of registration among dealers, while 13 registrations were cancelled.

3.4 Visitors' Permits ( Table 8)

  • The number of applications for Visitors' Permits from both EC and non- EC residents in 2008 totalled 2,437 for firearms, down from 2,573 (see Appendix 17) in 2007, and 4,426 for shot guns, down from 4,685 (see Appendix 17) in 2007.

3.5 European Firearm Passes ( Table 9)

  • The number of European Firearm Passes on issue at the end of 2008 was 1,236, compared to 1,092 (see Appendix 17) in 2007.

3.6 Article 7 Authorities ( Table 10)

  • There were no applications (granted) for Article 7 Authorities made by certificate holders in 2008, compared to 2 in 2007.