Scotland

More firearms and shotguns legally held in Scotland

man with rifle grouse shooting Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The number of firearms and shotguns held on certificate in Scotland has risen

There are about 84,000 guns and more than 141,000 shotguns legally held in Scotland, according to new statistics.

The numbers are up on the previous year's figures, with the increase the first seen in five years.

However, the rise in the number of certificates for guns is in part due to a change in what is recorded as a "firearm".

The number of shotguns held on certificate is the highest for the past 10 years.

Firearm and shotgun certificates must be renewed every five years - but since the Dunblane school shooting in 1996, pistols have been banned.

The latest figures from Scotland's chief statistician showed that at the end of 2013 there were 26,020 firearm certificates on issue, covering the possession of 84,358 guns. This showed an increase of more than 12,000 compared with 2012,

However, about 10,000 of the increase was the result of two former police forces returning data on sound moderators or "silencers".

Sound moderators, which reduce the noise or flash of a weapon, are not firearms in themselves but are subject to certification.

The firearms figures also include rifles, handguns and certain types of air weapons.

There were 48,779 shotgun certificates on issue at the end of 2013, covering the possession of 141,923 shotguns.

Since 2004 there has been a 10% increase in the number of shotguns held on certificate.

There were 350 registered firearm dealers in Scotland at the end of 2013.

Under proposals being considered by the Scottish Parliament all airguns purchased in Scotland would require a licence and those wishing to own one would need to demonstrate they had a legitimate reason for doing so.

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