The Countryside Alliance’s Campaign for Shooting has welcomed new statistics which show an increase in the number of firearms certificates granted by police forces in England and Wales to the end of March 2017, and 23,128 new shotgun certificate holders.

Statistics on firearm and shotgun certificates issued by police forces in England and Wales under the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1997 were released today (6th July) and show a 1% increase in firearm certificates in the year to 31st March 2017. There were 23,718 new applications for shotgun certificates in the same period, of which 98% (23,128) were granted and 2% (590) were refused.

Countryside Alliance Head of Shooting, Liam Stokes, commented: “First of all, welcome to the 23,128 new shotgun certificate holders! It is great to see so many new entrants to shotgun shooting. An increase in legal firearm ownership is also a cause for celebration as it means more people are enjoying safe, sociable, enjoyable rifle sports, be that on the range or in the field. We are always happy to work with police forces across England and Wales to ensure that the licensing process is as streamlined as possible.

“More than 600,000 people shoot in the UK, and between them they spend £2.5 billion on goods and services. This spend benefits rural businesses both directly and indirectly, and helps sustain the communities of which these businesses form a part. It can make all the difference between profit and loss for some rural services, and it is thanks to shooting that many communities are kept economically viable outside traditional tourist seasons.”

Ends..

Notes to editors

View the full statistics

• there were 154,958 firearm certificates as at 31 March 2017; an increase of 1% (1,554) compared with the previous year
• there were 559,302 firearms (covered by firearm certificates) as at 31 March 2017; an increase of 4% (20,108) compared with the previous year there were 1,349,099 shotguns (covered by shotgun certificates) as at 31 March 2017; an increase of 1% (17,536) compared with the previous year
• a total of 1,216 shotgun certificates were revoked in the year to 31 March 2017; a decrease of 10% (-133) compared with the previous year