Government figures have shown the number of certificates for shotguns and other firearms
Nearly 200,000 guns are legally owned throughout the Hampshire, Surrey and Thames Valley police authority areas according to new police figures.
In Hampshire, just shy of 27,000 certificates cover 48,272 shotguns and 17,632 other firearms – a rate of 3.47 legal guns per every 100 people in the county.
This compares against nearly 16,000 certificates for 28,398 shotguns and 11,147 other firearms in Surrey at a rate of 3.48 legal guns for every 100 people.
And in Thames Valley, there are just over 34,000 certificates for 65,625 shotguns and 22,454 other firearms, a rate of some 3.87 legal guns per 100 people.
While shotguns are considered separate to other firearms, a certificate is legally required to own weapons of either category.
The data, which was recently issued by the Home Office for the period April 1 2012, to March 31 2013, shows 1,681 new, renewed or varied certificates for firearms were granted in Hampshire during 2012/13, yet only eight were refused and 13 revoked.
In respect of shotguns, 5,227 certificates were granted or renewed in Hampshire during 2012/13, 42 refused and 46 revoked.
Surrey saw 2,798 shotgun certificates granted or renewed with just six refused and 18 revoked and in Thames Valley, 5,204 certificates were signed off, 32 refused and 65 revoked.
Despite this, gun crime fell from 69 incidents in 2011/12 to 52 last year. The majority involved BB guns, imitation firearms or air weapons and none resulted in fatalities or serious injury.
The Surrey Police spokesman said: “Reasons for revoking a licence could be medical.
“For example, if the person has developed a condition meaning they’re no longer suitable to hold the licence.”
Other reasons include, failing to comply with licence conditions, criminal convictions for violence, or involvement in violent offences – including domestic violence.”
Certificates are granted by individual forces’ firearms licensing teams, who perform home visits on application and on renewal.
When a licence is issued, a letter is sent to the applicant’s doctor to advise them and request notification of any concerns about the person’s medical condition.
The figures also show Surrey last year handed out the highest number of group visitors’ permits – 67. This breaks down to 37 for the use of shotguns and 30 for the use of other firearms.
More than 500 individuals were also granted visitor permits for either shotgun or other firearm use.