Available figures relate to the use of BB guns. A BB gun is a low powered weapon which fires pellets (rather than ball bearings) at a low velocity.
Statistics on the number of offences involving BB guns have only been collected separately since April 2004.
There were 2,864 and 2,753 BB gun offences during 2004-05 and 2005-06 respectively.
The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 will double the maximum custodial sentence for possessing an imitation firearm in a public place without reasonable excuse to one year. It will also make it illegal to sell any imitation firearm to a person under 18 and will ban the manufacture, import and sale of realistic imitation firearms. We intend to commence these provisions with effect from 1 October.