The lure of hunting in NSW national parks has prompted has prompted a membership boom at ACT gun clubs.
Statistics obtained by the Sunday Canberra Times reveal there are
It's illegal for shooters to hunt vermin ACT parks, although shooting on private properties is still allowed.
Sporting Shooters Association of Australia ACT president David True said they had about 3500 members in the ACT, growing by about 9 per cent year on year.
"I know a lot of people don't like that and that's their cup of tea, [but] for recreational hunting you can get an R-license and you can actually book into state forests within NSW and recreationally hunt vermin," he said.
A Canberra National Pistol Club spokeswoman said its membership was also increasing steadily.
But Gun Control Australia spokesman Roland Browne said one gun per 20 Canberrans was too much for an urbanised territory and would put the ACT among the highest rates of ownership in Australia.
According to ACT Policing, there were 18,617 firearms registered to about 5886 licensees – roughly three guns for every person with a license and one gun for every 20 Canberrans.
An ACT Policing spokesman said the registered firearms included those held by dealers and firearms clubs and privately-owned guns.
In total 176 firearms were seized in the past year, an increase of 58 per cent, while the number of crimes involving a gun dropped by about 42 per cent.
Mr True said the number of firearms and the number of licenses were lower than he expected.
"Members in our club would have several firearms, [sometimes] tens of firearms, themselves ... I have seven different firearms which I use for several different events," he said.
"Technically I could have double the amounts because I could take one as a spare in case of a malfunction or failure."
He said because the Sporting Shooters Association was an authorised hunting organisation, a number of people joined so they could get their hunting licenses in NSW.
But Mr True said people also joined to take part in sporting events or for something to do after they had retired.
"Within our club we shoot 17 different disciplines and each of those are varied ... we also have a very active junior development program, twice a month we'll have 30 or so turn up."
Mr Browne said over the past 10 years Gun Control Australia had seen an increase in gun ownership across Australia, including license holders with up 160 guns who were neither collectors nor sellers.
He said the number of guns in the ACT was too high and called for a national review of the gun laws brought into effect in 1996.
"When we're seeing an average of three guns per license holder that's sounding like the ACT is edging towards the highest rate in Australia, when we would expect it to be well and truly at the lower end because the ACT is almost entirely a suburban area," he said.
Mr True said sporting clubs were often unfairly demonised when crimes were committed with illegal firearms.
"We're only trying to do a sport, compete against ourselves and other competitors, and do the right thing and be responsible," he said.
"When someone gets shot it's the legal firearm owners that get blamed."