Tag Archives: Firearms Laws


Mark Dennehy

Further to planned new restrictions on gun ownership in Ireland.

An honest attempt to reduce the number of firearms?

Or a deliberate attempt to demonise licensed firearm owners  –  farmers, hunters, paintballers, vets and sportspeople – all of whom “are personally vetted and signed off by the Gardai themselves?

Marksman Mark Dennehy writes:

Let’s start with the basics: Yes, ordinary people in Ireland own firearms for perfectly good legal reasons. Vets, hunters, farmers, target shooters in a dozen sports including the Olympics, paintballers, race officials, even the guy who maintains the birdscarer at Dublin Airport. There’s about a hundred thousand of them and it’s been that way since at least the 1850s.

What’s the law today? Firstly, this is not America. We don’t have a second amendment and we don’t want it. If you want a firearm, you apply for a licence from the Gardai. There are several tests before you get the licence, which in essence are:

Do you have a good reason for wanting the firearm?
Do you have a safe place to use the firearm?
Do you have a secure place to store the firearm when it’s not in use?
Would you be a danger to the public or the peace if you had this firearm?
Are you allowed to apply for a licence in the first place?

Those tests get checked six ways from Sunday (and no, you can’t get a licence for a firearm for self-defence and you never could). The Gardai have enormous latitude for refusing applications or revoking existing licences when there is any concern for public safety, and applicants have to accept a large number of conditions when applying for a licence – giving the Gardai access to their homes for inspections of gun safes, access to medical records, character references, and so on.

There are competency requirements for applicants so you don’t have untrained people owning firearms, and there is a strong culture surrounding firearms ownership in Ireland regarding safety and training.

By and large, the design of the legislation isn’t bad. It served perfectly well for almost forty years without a single amendment. Today the fine detail is a mess because we have over twenty
Acts, two EU directives and over forty statutory instruments all layered on top of one another and all of which must be read together to figure out what the current law is. That’s a long way from clear and the Law Reform Commission and High Court Justices alike have called out for this to be fixed for over a decade.

What are these proposed changes and why are people annoyed at them?

They’re not annoyed at *all* of them. Some are actually things that have needed fixing for a while and nobody has a problem with those; others have to do with tidying up problems that arose from the palimpsest nature of the law, and no one has a problem with those either (we’d like much more of that). The parts causing the fuss are:Continue reading →