Netherlands firearm permits on the decline
Four the fourth consecutive year, the police issued fewer firearm permits in 2015. The number of issued permits dropped from 72,645 to 72,086, according to figures NU.nl got from the police through the Freedom of Information Act.
There are two reasons for the declining number of firearm permits. First is that the police are more strict when checking an applicant's background since a mass shooting in Alphen aan den Rijn in 2011. The second is that there is simply fewer applications.
The number of legally owned firearms decreased since 2012, but showed a slight increase last year. There is currently a total of 206,231 legal firearms in circulation in the Netherlands. The bulk of the issued permits and firearms are for hunting.
The Wadden islands, parts of Noord-Brabant and the eastern parts of the Netherlands have the most firearms in circulation. Hunting is also popular in these areas.