The number of people in England and Wales with a shotgun licence has dropped, according to the Home Office’s latest figures.
There were 561,413 shotgun certificates as at 31 March 2017, a decrease of 1% (or 5,602) compared with the previous year and the lowest number recorded since 2007/08.
However, the number of shotguns covered by certificates has increased by 17,500 in the last year. In fact, the number of shotguns covered has remained roughly level since this record began in 1995, despite certificate numbers dropping by nearly 90,000 in this time.
This indicates that, though there are fewer shooters overall, the average shooter is more serious and spends more money on his or her sport than ever before.
Age in the spotlight
Experimental statistics on the demographics of certificate holders indicate that the average shooter is a man in his 50s.
However, BASC noted that certificate ownership among under-18s is growing, with nearly 4,000 minors possessing either a firearm or shotgun certificate.
BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “Teaching the responsible and safe use of firearms to younger people removes the myths that surround firearms, and teaches both self-control and responsibility towards others.
“Shooting has many aspects, from pest control through to Olympic and Commonwealth Games clay shooting. It is vital that anyone wanting to compete at these top international levels gets an early start in life.”