London, Apr 14 : Police have given gun licences to children aged just seven. A Daily Mirror investigation discovered 5,343 under-18s got permits in the last two years because of a legal loophole.
All youngsters have to do is fill in a form and attend a routine police interview to get a licence. These include permits for .22 rifles, .243 rifles, .410 pistols, .410 shotguns and 12-bore semi automatic shotguns. Anti-gun campaigners branded the figures "scandalous". But our probe discovered three - Devon and Cornwall, Lancashire and Northants - have handed them to children as young as eight. Sussex Police handed out the most gun licences to kids. It issued 403 permits to children - including four nine-year-olds, three 10-year-olds and 20 11-year-olds.
Anti-gun campaigner Rebecca Peters said: "This loophole must be closed now. To issue a shotgun licence to a seven-year-old is nothing short of madness." The probe looked at every police force in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The figures were from the National Firearms Licensing Management System.