Alamy Boy playing with toy shotgun
Children as young as 11 have been given gun licences, it has been revealed.
A disturbing total of 56 youngsters aged 17 and under in the West Midlands are allowed to legally fire a shotgun.
The figures came to light after an investigation by the Birmingham Mail newspaper.
It found that eight 13-year-olds, three 12-year-olds and an 11-year-old had been granted the licences – a move that has been condemned as unacceptable by a local MP.
Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Selly Oak, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the paper:
It is bizarre that you cannot buy cigarettes or alcohol until you are 18 and cannot drive until you are 17, but you can pick up and shoot a shotgun at 11. In the eyes of the law they are not competent to drive, but they can fire a lethal weapon.
"My own personal view is that it's unacceptable for an 11 or 12-year-old to be granted a licence to fire a shotgun.
"I think the ages should be brought into line with the other activities like drinking, smoking and driving."
In total more than 8,000 people currently hold a shotgun licence in Birmingham and the West Midlands and another 2,000 hold firearm licences.
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