IT would be impossible – not to say unreasonable – to ban firearms outright. There are many legitimate reasons why farmers need to hold shotguns and shooting is a recognised Olympic sport.

Figures from the Home Office show that in March this year, there were 12,439 licensed firearms in West Yorkshire up from 8,721 in 2009. This figure excludes shotguns of which there are 24,400.

Britain has some of the toughest firearms licensing restrictions anywhere in the world. It has never been harder to legitimately own a firearm than it is today. But the number of firearms per 100,000 people in West Yorkshire is now at a ten year high. That seems like a puzzling dichotomy.

Regardless of the fact, we are more concerned about the number of illegal – rather than legal – firearms in circulation and the apparent ease with which criminals can obtain weapons.

Last year the number of firearms incidents in the Bradford district rose by more than a third.

While it’s important to note that there were relatively few serious injuries caused by firearms last year, it would be wrong to dismiss the figures as of no importance. Any firearms discharge is serious and has the potential to do great harm.

One only has to look across the Atlantic to see what happens when gun control breaks down. Thankfully Britain’s firearms laws are much tighter, and thus far more effective, than America’s Second Amendment.

But the police still need to double down on tracing illegally-held firearms.