Calls for tighter gun controls in North Wales as figures reveal 37,000 firearms owned in region
Calls for tighter gun controls were raised at a police meeting after a report revealed North Wales gun owners possessed 37,000 weapons.
Speaking at a North Wales Police and Crime Panel at Conwy’s Bodlondeb HQ, Flintshire councillor Chris Bithell called for tighter legislation for gun control.
A report showed that there were 2,783 firearm certificates issued in the region with these owners possessing 10,280 guns.
The figure is in addition to 9,571 shotgun certificates in the area – with the total number of shotguns totalling at 27,404.
The panel heard there were 45 registered firearm dealers in the region and that gun owners must reapply for the licence every five years.
Firearm dealers must reapply every three years.
But Cllr Bithell believes it is time for a change in the law, arguing every gun owner should have a licence for every weapon owned.
He said: “Does the shotgun licence apply to a single weapon? The answer in the report is that it doesn’t.
“People could have a small arsenal with one particular certificate, and I think that is a matter of concern. When you add them all together there is quite a number of weapons in circulation in North Wales as a consequence.
“A certificate can cover one weapon, but there’s no maximum or minimum. I think that should cause some alarm because although the owners of these guns and the holders of these certificates and the licences may well be bonafide people who use them very legitimately in their work and life, the danger is that break-ins happen and then these weapons get into the wrong hands.”
He added: “I think it should be raised nationally and it should be one certificate per weapon so we can keep some sort of grip on this.
“You are talking about 37,000 plus weapons in the North Wales area, and that’s a matter of some concern.”
A senior police officer attending responded to his concerns.
Detailing the requirements of the certificates, he said: “The more weapons you have, the more different security arrangements that need to be in place in your house. For a certain number of weapons, you have to have different cabinets, alarms, etc.
“As far as licences being revoked or refused, that’s slightly different. Everyone who applies, we do national computer checks on them.
“We do checks with all police forces across the UK, and that includes criminal convictions and intelligence that we might possess about individuals.
“If that comes up with things that are of concern to us, and we don’t think they are a fit and proper person to have a shotgun or firearm, then we would look to refuse to grant them (the gun licence).
“If something then transpires while they are a firearms or a shotgun holder, say a domestic at the home address, or if we have information that someone has alcohol issues, we are able to revoke people’s licences.”
By Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com