POLICE have given their reasoning for the number of children who are allowed to use guns in Cumbria following a reveal from the Home Office.

At the end of March, 48 children aged under 18 in Cumbria held certificates granting them permission to use shotguns or firearms, according to Home Office data.

They were among 9,317 people in the area permitted to use the weapons.

A police spokesperson said “Cumbria’s firearms licensing procedures are effective and robust, with extensive checks for new applicants, as well as those seeking a variation or renewal to a firearm certificate.

“Only those individuals who are suitable to hold a particular class of firearm, and have good reason, will be granted a license.

“There is on-going monitoring throughout the validity of a certificate, which is five years. If a certificate holder, of any age, come to adverse notice for any reason a review of their continued suitability is undertaken.

“The Firearms Act 1968 (As Amended) does not state a minimum age at which a shotgun certificate can be issued however, there is a minimum age of 14 years at which a firearm certificate can be issued.

“The same legislation also specifies the age at which a shotgun and/or firearm can be acquired and how it can be acquired, therefore providing a greater level of control over the access to shotguns and firearms by persons under 18 years of age."