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This briefing paper examines firearm offence statistics published by the Scottish Government in the Recorded Crimes and Offences Involving Firearms bulletin. The latest bulletin was published in November 2016.

In reporting the number of firearm offences, it is not always possible to ascertain whether a real firearm was actually used. Unless a weapon is fired or recovered by the police following a criminal offence, there is no way of knowing conclusively whether the firearm was real, an imitation, or whether it was loaded or unloaded at the time of the offence. The categorisation of firearms can be reliant on the description given to the police by a victim or witness, or upon other evidence.

Key statistics for the year ending 31 March 2016:

  • There were 332 offences involving firearms – down 7% from the previous year;
  • 151 were non-air weapon offences and 181 air based weapon offences;
  • Scotland had 2.8 non-air firearm offences per 100,000 head of population;
  • Just under half of non-air firearms used were either handguns, shotguns or rifles;
  • In 16 cases involving non-air firearms an individual suffered an injury.


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