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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Increase in gun-related injuries
The police figures showed a big rise in firearms injuries
The number of people injured by guns in Scotland has reached a 10-year high, according to new figures.

The number of incidents rose from 197 to 247, with the number of people injured up by 26% from 189 to 239.

The annual statistics showed that guns killed eight people last year, the same death toll as in each of the previous two years.

Air weapons accounted for 144 of those injury cases recorded by police, according to the official figures.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill wants proposed gun control to be devolved from Westminster.

We must not and will not allow gun crime to get a grip on any of our communities
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill

Officials said changes in the way police forces recorded gun crime could have led to an apparent increase both in airgun crime and in the number of cases of "reckless conduct with a firearm".

Police previously excluded airgun incidents where no injury or damage was caused but these were included for the first time last year.

The figures showed a total of 1,245 offences in which firearms were alleged to have been used, a 17% rise on the previous year's 1,068 and the highest total for 10 years.

'Responsible government'

This included an increase from 123 to 291 in reckless conduct with a firearm cases, in line with the new reporting system.

Strathclyde with 43% of Scotland's population, accounted for most of the country's firearms offences with 691, or 56% of the total.

Mr MacAskill said: "As a country we must be concerned that firearms casualties rose by a quarter last year, one in three of them children, and cases of attempted murder involving firearms were almost three times that of a decade ago.

"We fully supported previous reforms brought in by the UK Parliament including the recent tightening of air weapon sales.

"But no responsible government can look at these figures and say the job is done.

"While knife crime remains much more prevalent in Scotland - and we will not let up on our work to tackle that - we must not and will not allow gun crime to get a grip on any of our communities."

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