7,929 legal guns in Ballymena

NEW data published yesterday (Monday) has revealed the scale of Ballymena’s gun culture.

There are 7,929 legally held firearms in homes across the borough, according to police figures released to The Irish News under freedom of information legislation.

That total puts Ballymena third highest in the provincial weapons league table in which Fermanagh came out tops with 9,214 legally held weapons and Dungannon & South Tyrone second on 8,259.

Third-placed Ballymena was closely followed by Armagh with 7,913.

In total there are 139,929 legally held firearms in homes throughout the North and, according to the PSNI, the guns are shared out between 61,565 owners.

All the PSNI’s 7,500 police officers have personal protection weapons issued to them.

Personal protection is accepted as a legitimate reason to own a fire arm in the north and a firearm certificate for a personal protection weapon can be authorised only when police agree there is a “verificable specific risk” to the life of an individual.