Deputy Broughan recently requested information from the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, regarding the number of firearm licences revoked in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Late last year there were a number of changes announced to legislation surrounding firearms licensing especially with regards to licensing of handguns.
The changes to the Firearms Acts 1925 to 2009 were announced following the November 2014 report of The Working Group for the Review of Firearms Licensing. This Working Group was established due to concerns around the number of criminal incidents involving firearms in Ireland. The report states that An Garda Síochána reported 2,198 reported incidents involving a firearm took place between 2009 and February 2014. The report also states that as of the 28th of March 2014, the number of non-restricted handgun licences stood at 1,076 and the number of restricted handgun licences at 590. It also reported that as of the 10th of February 2014 there were 178,191 firearms certificates across the state for all types of firearms.
According to the Firearms Acts 1925 to 2009, there are a number of reasons why a firearms licence can be revoked and some of these included that the person has ‘no good reason for requiring the firearm’ or for ‘public safety/peace’.
Figures released to Deputy Broughan following a Parliamentary Question on the issue show that 141 firearms licences were revoked in 2013, 92 of which were for shotgun licences; 112 firearms licences were revoked in 2014, 74 of which were for shotgun licences; and 82 were revoked in 2015, 51 of which were for shotgun licences.
|2013||Pistol (Semi Automatic)||6|
|2013||Rifle (Bolt Action)||30|
|2013||Rifle (Lever Action)||1|
|2013||Rifle (Pump Action)||9|
|2013||Shotgun (Pump Action)||1|
|2013||Shotgun (Semi Automatic)||10|
|2013||Shotgun (Single Barrel)||25|
|2013||Shotgun (Under And Over)||56|
|2014||Pistol (Semi Automatic)||5|
|2014||Rifle (Bolt Action)||27|
|2014||Rifle (Pump Action)||5|
|2014||Shotgun (Pump Action)||4|
|2014||Shotgun (Semi Automatic)||2|
|2014||Shotgun (Single Barrel)||22|
|2014||Shotgun (Under And Over)||46|
|2015||Pistol (Semi Automatic)||1|
|2015||Rifle (Bolt Action)||21|
|2015||Rifle (Pump Action)||9|
|2015||Shotgun (Pump Action)||3|
|2015||Shotgun (Semi Automatic)||11|
|2015||Shotgun (Single Barrel)||10|
|2015||Shotgun (Under And Over)||27|
Deputy Broughan said “While gun crime in Ireland seems to be down on previous years we still need to ensure that our legislation regarding firearms licencing is robust enough to ensure that firearms do not fall into the wrong hands. Minister Fitzgerald said last Autumn that changes to legislation would include the establishment of a Firearms Assessment and Appeals Authority, that there would be a centralised licensing system for restricted firearms and that the Garda Inspectorate would have the powers to review licences. The next Dáil will need to follow through on changes made, work with the Gardaí and consistently review legislation in this area to ensure that public safety is at the forefront.”