More new gun licences have been approved in Queensland during the first six months of this year than all of 2012.

New gun licence approvals in Queensland have more than doubled in two years.

Queensland police approved 7712 new weapons licences in 2011 but this rose to 18,178 by 2013.

Some 8,913 new licences for first-time applicants were signed off during the first six months of this year alone, compared with 8,528 approvals for all of 2012.

This also includes gun owners applying for a new category of licence.

Gun Control Australia blamed promotions from sporting shooters for the sharp increase in new gun licences in Queensland.

“These people getting lots of extra guns are people who are taking it up because of the promotional push from the shooting lobby to broaden out shooting as a sport in Australia,” the group’s vice-president Roland Browne told AAP.

“Licensing around Australia, but certainly in Queensland, doesn’t seem to be scrutinised in a way that was intended in 1996 after the Port Arthur shootings and the national firearms agreement.”

Queensland’s Police Minster Jack Dempsey confirmed that the time taken to apply for a gun licence had fallen from 15 weeks in 2011 to 12 weeks this year.

He said extra police and a system of whereby applicants lodging incomplete forms are called “as soon as possible” had contributed to the faster licence approval times.

“This government (is) delivering on its strong plan to reduce red tape for legitimate weapons owners across Queensland,” he said, in response to parliamentary question from Mt Isa MP Robbie Katter.

Permits from existing gun licence holders to buy new weapons rose by 51 per cent between 2011 and last year, to 46,740.

The police received more than 82,000 online applications between November 2012 and the end of June this year.

A spokesman for Mr Dempsey said the LNP government had introduced minimum one-year jail sentences for using a firearm in public.

“Whilst there has been an increase in applications, the checks and laws in Queensland ensure weapons are only held by legitimate owners,” he said in a statement.