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Statistical Bulletin: Crime and Justice Series: Firearm Certificates Statistics, Scotland, 2009

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3. Commentary

3.1 Firearm Certificates ( Tables 1 to 3)

  • There were 26,072 firearm certificates on issue at the end of 2009, a decrease of one per cent from 2008.
  • The number of firearms held on certificate increased by two per cent from 69,481 in 2008 to 72,856 in 2009 (see Annex Note 10). The number of firearms held on certificate in 2009 was 20 per cent higher than in 2000, and the highest number in the 10 years covered by this bulletin.
  • The number of firearms possessed for each certificate grew by three per cent compared with 2008 and increased from 2.0 to 2.7 (35 per cent) since 2000.
  • In 2009, there were 1,124 applications for new firearm certificates, an increase of eight per cent compared with 2008. The vast majority (1,112 or almost 99 per cent) of applications were granted, with 12 applications (just over one per cent) being refused (see Chart 2)

Chart 2 - New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of firearm certificates, Scotland, 2000-2009(1)

Chart 2 - New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of firearm certificates, Scotland, 2000-2009

(1) Figures for 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 are affected by changes in regulations. See Annex Note 11.

  • 2,100 firearm certificates were renewed during 2009, with only one application for renewal being refused.
  • There were 1,312 cancellations of firearm certificates in 2009, compared to 653 cancellations in 2008. In addition, 43 firearm certificates were revoked in 2009. The number of cancellations outnumbered those granted, thus reducing the number of certificates on issue at the end of 2009 compared to the previous year.
  • Over a quarter (6,701) of all firearms certificates on issue at the end of 2009 were in the Northern police force area. Grampian police force area contained the second highest number of firearm certificates (4,528), followed by Strathclyde (3,799) and Lothian and Borders (3,691) .
  • The number of firearm certificates on issue per head of population (see Chart 4) was highest in the Northern police force area (2,320 per 100,000 population) and lowest in Strathclyde (171 per 100,000 population). This is not unexpected given that those with the highest numbers relate to the more rural areas of Scotland, where populations are lower and employment and recreational activities may require the use of firearms.
  • The 26,072 firearm certificates on issue at 31 December 2009 covered the possession of 70,856 firearms. In addition, the certificates on issue authorised a further 8,602 firearms to be purchased or acquired (see Annex Note 10).
  • Of 54,612 firearms possessed on certificate where the type of weapon was known (see Table 3, caveat 5), the majority (83 per cent) were rifles .

3.2 Shot Gun Certificates ( Tables 4 to 5a)

  • There were 50,308 shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2009, an increase of less than one per cent from 2008.
  • The 50,308 shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2009 covered the possession of 137,768 shot guns, a decrease of 0.1 per cent compared to 2008.
  • The number of shot guns possessed for each certificate increased from 2.1 to 2.7 (by 29 per cent) between 2000 and 2009.
  • The number of applications for a new shot gun certificate was 1,693 in 2009, three per cent lower than the 2008 figure of 1,749. There were 1,671 successful applications in 2009, compared to 1,348 cancellations (see Chart 3).
  • There were 3,476 renewed shot gun certificates in 2009. No applications for renewal were refused, compared to four refused in 2008 (see Annex Note 18).

Chart 3 - New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of shot gun certificates, Scotland, 2000-2009(1)

Chart 3 - New granted applications, cancellations and revocations, and total on issue of shot gun certificates, Scotland, 2000-2009

(1) Figures for 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 are affected by changes in regulations. See Annex Note 11.

  • In 2009, 1,348 shot gun certificates were cancelled, an increase of 49 per cent compared with 907 cancellations in 2008, while 71 were revoked, an increase of nine per cent on the 65 certificates revoked in 2008.
  • Strathclyde (9,135), Grampian (9,073) and Northern (8,727) police force areas jointly accounted for more than half of all shot gun certificates on issue at the end of 2009.
  • The number of shot gun certificates on issue per head of population (see Chart 5) was highest in Northern police force area (3,021 per 100,000 population) and lowest in Strathclyde (412 per 100,000 population). This is not unexpected given that the areas with the highest numbers relate to the more rural areas of Scotland with the lowest populations, where employment and recreational activities may require the use of shot guns.

Chart 4 - Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December 2009 per 100,000 population(1)

Chart 4 - Firearm and shot gun certificates on issue at 31 December 2009 per 100,000 population

(1) Population as at mid-June 2009. Source: General Register Office for Scotland.

3.3 Firearm Dealers ( Tables 6 and 7)

  • There were 335 registered firearms dealers in Scotland at the end of 2009, an increase of two per cent from the 327 registered dealers at the end of 2008.
  • In 2009, 49 dealers had their request for renewal of registration granted compared to 67 requests granted in 2008 (see Annex Note 18). There were no refusals for new registration or renewal of registration among dealers. 20 registrations were cancelled during 2009.
  • The number of registered dealers per head of population was highest in Northern police force area (21 dealers per 100,000 population) and lowest in Lothian and Borders (3 per 100,000 population).

3.4 Visitors' Permits ( Table 8)

  • The number of applications for Visitor's Permits from both EC and non- EC residents in 2009 were 2,398 for firearms down two per cent from 2,437 in 2008 and 4,122 for shot guns, down seven per cent from 4,426 in 2008 (see Annex Note 18).

3.5 European Firearm Passes ( Table 9)

  • The number of European Firearm Passes on issue at the end of 2009 was 1,276, an increase of three per cent compared to 1,236 in 2008 (see Annex Note 18).

3.6 Article 7 Authorities ( Table 10)

  • There was one application (granted) for Article 7 Authorities made by certificate holders in 2009, compared to zero in 2008.