Question to: Nessa Childers
Issue: The role of regional and local government
Question sent by

What are your thoughts on how the latest proposed amendments to the Irish Firearms Acts - as contained in the Criminal Justice (Misc.Provisions) Bill 2009 - contravene the EU directive on Firearms (91/477/EEC) by requiring all Irish firearms owners to only purchase ammunition or firearms from Irish registered firearms dealers instead of the current (and in force since 1964) laws that allow them to purchase from any registered firearms dealer in the EU so long as the appropriate paperwork is in place?
Reply from
Nessa Childers

Dear ,

Thank you for your question. This a very serious issue that effects more than 236,000 lawful individuals in this country. There is an urgent need for a single, comprehensive, updated and consolidated code on Firearms. I think everyone agrees new legislation to fight gun crime needs to be brought forward in light of recent killings. However, last month´s bill was too reactionary and showed lack of foresight and consideration. There is no evidence to show that legally held guns have been used in the commission of any crime. I am, of course, in favour of bringing the law up to date in the matter of licensing of firearms, their security and their use. I am not in favour, however, of measures purportedly introduced to tackle crime being used instead to put legitimate sports clubs out of business. Target shooting sports in Ireland is not insignificant as a sport and is a dimension of indigenous rural business in some counties. The Government must reconsider its position and take the opportunity to produce coherent firearms legislation that effectively tackles crime without punishing lawful firearms owners.