There are about 58 million people living in the England and Wales (excluding Scotland and Northern Ireland.)
As most know, it’s not the friendliest place on Earth for owning firearms.
Especially the 1997 Firearms Act, and amendments, were devastating news for sport shooters and hunters alike.
However I’m surprised now and then when I find out it seems to be perfectly legal to own RnR and Akdal Semi-auto Shotguns with box magazines (as long as the barrel is…well…long), pistols (with silly antenna-like add-ons for length) and even AR-15, albeit only manual unless in .22 LR och WMR.
I think most people interconnect English gun ownership with traditional workmanship and hunting, like Holland & Holland, Purdey and similar brands.
But, as readers of TFB know there’s a possibility to buy a SAKO TRG M-10, supressed, even in London. I’m not saying it’s a walk-in walk-out type of buy, but it’s possible.
An odd fact is that you need to have 2 referees for a firearm certificate and 1 referee for a shotgun certificate. I don’t know if this system is used in more places?
But there is actually a qualified right to own firearms in England, however I have never seen any sorts of statistics. Until now.
Below you can find data extracted from the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) on firearm and shotgun certificates issued by police forces in England and Wales shows that:
In total, there were 153,404 firearm certificates as at 31 March 2016; a decrease of 0.1% (-199) compared with the previous year.
There were 539,194 firearms (covered by firearm certificates) as at 31 March 2016; an increase of 2.7% (14,069) compared with the previous year.
Of the 9,755 new applications for firearm certificates in the year to 31 March 2016, 97.7% (9,534) were granted and 2.3% (221) were refused.
A total of 396 firearms certificates were revoked in the year to 31 March 2016; a decrease of 2.5% (-10) compared with the previous year.
In total, there were 567,015 shotgun certificates as at 31 March 2016; a decrease of 2.7% (-15,479) compared with the previous year.
There were 1,331,563 shotguns (covered by shotgun certificates) as at 31 March 2016; a decrease of 0.5% (-6,836) compared with the previous year.
Of the 22,596 new applications for shotgun certificates in the year to 31 March 2016, 96.8% (21,884) were granted and 3.2% (712) were refused.
A total of 1,349 shotgun certificates were revoked in the year to 31 March 2016; a decrease of 1.7% (-24) compared with the previous year.
BASC (the British Association for Shooting and Conservation) is the UK’s largest shooting organization; it has a membership of more than 145,000.
According to the NABIS database, between 1 April 2015 and 31 March this year 859 firearms were recovered (these were predominantly illegal firearms). Of these 55 have been ballistically linked to criminal discharges and the remainder (804) had no ballistic connections to previous criminal discharges.
As you need a certificate to buy and own a shotgun, firearm or ammunition we can calculate the total.
It would mean that there are 720,419 owners, owning 1.870,757 firearms/shotguns.
So a little more than 1% of the population own a firearm. Not exactly a lot, and probably similar to a small city in the USA.
The market can’t be very big either, only 32,351 new applications and I’m sure a few of those could possibly be for used firearms.
It is also not know why certificates have been revoked. I’m sure there could be many natural reasons, rather than illegal usage.
I’m surprised by the size of their shooting association. They’re not exactly the NRA, but still a substantial number.
For more information you can check Wikipedia’s information: Firearms policy in the United Kingdom.