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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Registered guns increase in east
The number of registered firearms in the East of England has increased by nearly 30% over the past six years, new police figures reveal.

An investigation by BBC Look East found that in 2005/6 more than 300,000 guns were legally owned in the region.

Anti-gun campaigners have called for a reduction in gun ownership and new laws to govern registration.

But, Mike Yardley, of Shooting Sports Trust, said procedures for obtaining a firearm were already "very rigorous".

Registered Guns in East
Bedfordshire - 20,602
Hertfordshire - 30,348
Northamptonshire - 31,083
Cambridgeshire - 40,144
Suffolk - 50,851
Essex - 61,185
Norfolk - 67,526

"To register a gun you have to apply to the police, you need a counter-signed form, your doctors name and address and you would have to provide proper security to store the gun," he said.

Mr Yardley said a lot of people across the region enjoyed shooting for sport and it was a very safe pastime.

"This is an incredibly safe sport. Safer than golf and fishing. One of the safest of all sports and highly controlled," he added.

But Alun Howard, of International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), said: "We would like to see fewer guns in East Anglia and a national register for guns in the same way we have for cars to allow you to link guns found anywhere with the original owner."

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