MORE than a dozen guns were lost or stolen in the county last year, despite Britain having some of the toughest gun laws in the world.
The Gun Control Network (GCN) said the numbers were “staggering” – with 15 firearms in Sussex among the hundreds lost or stolen last year.
The figures are for the 12 months to March and show a 250 percent increase over the previous 12 month period when only six incidents were recorded.
A GCN spokesman said: “Anyone who loses a gun is unfit to own a gun.
“You actually violate the technical requirements of the license that it must be kept safe and secure at all times.”
As a result, many people have lost their right to bear arms and ten licensees across Sussex have had their accreditation shredded.
That means 19,631 people in Sussex and Surrey are now authorized to use firearms, 53 of whom are under the age of 17.
A spokesman for the National Crime Agency (NCA) said gun crime in the UK was “relatively low compared to mainland Europe” but acknowledged that “some criminals may seek to obtain firearms illegally by stealing from legitimate license holders”.
Christian Ashwell, Head of Firearms Threat at the NCA, said: “The NCA works closely with law enforcement partners and works directly with representatives of the firearms trade and sport shooting associations to promote the safe and responsible ownership and storage of firearms, shotguns and ammunition . ”
Chief Inspector Simon Starns of Sussex Police Operations said: “These figures represent an extremely small percentage of the 45,000 licensed firearms owners in Sussex and Surrey, many of whom will own multiple firearms, so they need to be seen in context.
“We recently supported a national handover of firearms and surrendered 133 items including firearms, imitation firearms and ammunition. This shows that the general public is very responsible about the use of firearms.
“When a firearm is reported lost or stolen, recovering it is our top priority.
“When we recover a lost or stolen firearm, it becomes part of an investigation and is filed against the national database to ensure it has not been used in any way or for criminal purposes.
“All gun owners are counseled and subjected to a security clearance before a license is issued.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20280180.number-lost-stolen-guns-rise-sussex/?ref=rss Number of lost or stolen guns in Sussex rising