Hundreds legally keeping 'dangerous' firearms across West Midlands and Staffordshire
Hundreds of guns, described as the “most dangerous” types of civilian-owned firearms, are legally held in the West Midlands and Staffordshire, new figures reveal.
The Gun Control Network said it was concerned by the prevalence of the weapons across England and Wales, which it said are similar to those used in mass shootings around the world and are not part of shooting traditions.
Covered by firearm certificates, section 1 firearms are multi-shot weapons that contain a magazine holding more than two rounds.
Figures from the Home Office show there were 202 of these guns in West Midlands in 2019-20 – a six per cent rise on the year before.
There were also 353 of these guns in Staffordshire in the same period – also a six per cent rise on the year previous.
In both areas it was also the highest number of section one shotguns since comparable records began in 2015-16.
Across England and Wales, 19,255 of these weapons were in circulation as of March, just slightly fewer than the record number set two years previously.
The figures also show there were a total of 9,174 firearms licensed by West Midlands Police last year – a new record-high.
The majority of these – 60 per cent – were rifles and a further 510 – six per cent – were handguns.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “The Government needs to look very closely at this issue.
"I have previously called for law to be tightened to ban more of the most dangerous firearms from personal use.
"Firearms laws remain confused and difficult to enforce. I question whether there are many justifiable reasons for a member of the public to own weapons like these.”
A Home Office spokesman said: "The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world.
“Before anyone receives a firearms certificate, the police must be satisfied that the person is fit to possess one and they have powers to revoke certificates if there is a risk to public safety.”