** Update email to all shooters ** please read urgently **

Fellow Sportsmen and Sportswomen

 

Today marks a significant day for us all. This morning Des Crofton (NARGC), the Spokesman for the Sports Coalition, issued a letter to every member of both houses of the Oireachtas. A copy of the letter and its related attachments are appended to this mail.  I urge you to read all attachments in full.

The key points made are as follows:

 

  • On 7th May all TDs and Senators were invited to a briefing in Buswells Hotel.
  • Following the meeting a number of TDs made representations on our behalf.
  • On the 12th of June the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, responded to each of you in writing and expressed the following;  ‘Further consultation with relevant stakeholders will take place when I have considered the report and before any decisions are finalised in relation to proposals for change to the firearms licensing system’.
  • On August 22nd Des Crofton wrote to the Minister for Justice and expressed the following concern: ‘I am aware of a meeting which took place between two officials of your Department, Marion Walsh, Executive Director in your department and Brendan O’Loughlin with officials of the Attorney General’s office as recently as the 30th July, at which the firearms review and outcome was discussed.  At that meeting it was indicated that Annex F of the Garda Commissioner’s Guidelines would be removed as an outcome of the review.  The fact that this was being discussed as a virtual foregone conclusion would reasonably give just cause for concern as to the sincerity of any promised consultation.  However, any notion of fair and sincere consultation was completely destroyed by a statement (from your officials) in response to the observation that consultation had been promised, that while consultation will take place with the representative stakeholders, it will be a sham consultation.  The words used I believe were to the effect that while they would be consulted, they (the stakeholders) were not expected to be meaningfully consulted and I believe that remark was expressly minuted.”’ If you review the letter, you will see that Des gave the Minister an opportunity to respond. She was new in the job, she may not have known about the duplicitous and covert policy being implemented by her department and the relevant members of An Garda Síochaná (however her published comments would seem to contradict that assumption).
  • On the 10th of November the situation became clear as the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald TD, approved the removal of Annex F. It would seem to any fair-minded individual that this is, in effect, her approval of a policy which sees the promised consultations as being a total sham – Outrageous.   As Des eloquently puts it, ‘we are yet again being wronged and lied to (not for the first time) by Fine Gael and we will hold each and every Fine Gael member responsible.  As far as shooting, fishing and hunting people are concerned, Fine Gael cannot be trusted where our interests are under threat.’

 

What can you do? You have two choices – 1, Do what the planted spin doctors want you to do – accept graciously what’s on offer and wait until they come after you sporting equipment tomorrow, or 2 joint us and work to protect our sport.

If you are still reading and have selected the second option above, is time to for you to act. The sports Coalition represents organisations which boast 120,000 members – and every one of those members have to act. What do you do? Immediately contact your local Fine Gael TD and tell him/her what you think about the way sports shooters are being treated by the Minister for Justice, the Department of Justice and the Temporary Commissioner. Attend their clinics and do the same.

Remember, the Civil Servants are not elected and, as we all know are completely untouchable, regardless of their behaviour. On the other hand TD’s are elected – any you know what?  Our 120,000 supports tend to vote – and many of them voted FG.

 

But you must do your bit.  Don’t wait for the other person to do it for you.  If you want to keep your firearms certificate, and ensure that next year they don’t come back for more act now.

 

Any with friends in the media – call on them now.

 

150,000 illegal guns in Ireland and the focus is our legally held firearms – why?

 

Michael Tope

Chairman NASRPC.

DOJ Garda Working Group Firearm Licensing report 2014

Firearms Notification – November 2014 Notification

Letter to Oireachtas Members 4 (2)

6 Comments

  1. Michael Tope

    Nice work Jeff

  2. Michael Tope

    The Irish Team are winning BDMP Open Medals in Germany over this weekend. What national recognition do they get for their skill? Attempts to ban some of their sporting equipment.
    We should be proud of the achievements of our sportsmen and women

  3. Declan Keogh

    Some random thoughts:
    1972 to 2004 Gardai illegally hold the personal property of individuals after invoking a 30 day temporary custody order in 1972 as a result of IRA raids on houses where licensed firearms were held, one wonders how they got the addresses of the individuals who had lawfully held and Gardai registered firearms.

    Forward to 1995 and involvement of NRPAI with Justice and Gardai to ease policy on firearms licensing, 1998 NARGC succeeds in High court action on tourist shooters and uneven application of the firearms legislation in force. Firearms review group formed for the sole purpose of sorting out the mess, created by the Gardai failing to apply the legislation equally.
    Next gun cabinet debacle, the application of pre conditions by the Gardai on the issue of firearms applications, taken to the high court and won.
    Next action by Cork deer stalker against AGS relating to the failure to license a rifle in excess of .22 for deer stalking, won policy lightened to allow for the likening of up to .270

    2004 a cluster of high court cases against AGS, Nicholas Flood .308 to allow participation in international competition, Frank Brophy first licensed .22 pistol since 1972, Declan Keogh first licensed 9mm since 1972.
    2004 to 2006 the most dramatic shakeup of Irish Firearms Legislation in the history of the state, 42 amendments made to primary legislation, solidly agreed with the Shooting Organisations who were consulted on every aspect of the legislation while it was being written. Introduction of storage conditions for firearms, solid range standards introduced, range inspector defined in the legislation. Three month time limit for the determination of a firearms certificate, subsequently ignored and abused by AGS through inept application of the firearms application process, they soon found a way around the statutory period for the license determination, quite simple really, let it expire and put it on pulse again, I kid you not!
    In addition the 2006 amendments brought forward the option to appeal a refusal for a firearms certificate to the district court, not unreasonable but it was never envisaged that it would be totally abused by AGS, it was designed for the odd case, to date over 650 cases have been heard in the district court, until Jan 2014 appellants were unable to seek costs but now they can.
    The district court appeals when they progressed faced all of the powerful resources of the state to try and defend the indefensible, rolling in their famous state ballistic witness who delivered the same tripe at every turn, a standard .22 rimfire pistol, military police offensive weapon your honour! Ultimately unhinged not so long ago in the Limerick DC when it was shown that the said witness was well able to massage the truth!
    So back to the DC appeals of the 650 heard in the courts 98% granted on appeal, what does that say.
    Out of the DC and on the High Court. 2009 new licensing regime comes into place, instead of the appropriate administration of the legislation put there by the government of this country, wholesale misapplication of the legislation and blanket policy of refusals by some Chief Superintendents culminated in two Chief Superintendents in the High Court having to be stood down because of the self incriminating evidence delivered, in one case the CS admitted to altering firearms application documentation after the HC case had started, the other CS since promoted to assistant commissioner and retired admitted to not completing the documentation that they were required to under the firearms legislation, result HC action ended with agreement that all cases be reassessed and so they were and virtually every one of them granted on reassessment.
    Then they targeted the .22 pistols, wholesale refusals on the grounds that they were restricted and not non restricted, despite the fact that the commissioners guidelines specifically named the makes and models that were not restricted and therefore licensable as non restricted pistols, advices from the old reliable ballistic source! Result more high court cases in process!!!!
    Now least we forget the 2006 Firearms amendments introduced range standards, why well specifically to protect public safety, if the firearms can only be used in ranges built to international specifications for the safe use of the said firearms then result public safety protected.
    At what cost, the estimate to bring a range up to the standard required under the legislation was in the region of €220,000.00. So what happened when the ranges were updated at a critical time the legislation brining the standards into law was enacted, the State employed range inspector, visited the ranges with his square rule and declared the said ranges safe for the use of specific firearms, such is the detail of the range certificate it defines the calibres, ranges and shooter positions that can be used to fire pistols on these ranges so that public safety concerns are covered.
    Next the local superintendent gets his say, before issuing the range authorisation he sets out the conditions whereby the range can be lawfully used. Extensive restrictions on all ranges in the interest of public safety and security.
    Next the local superintendent not only gets opportunity to lay out the regulations related to the range but the 2006 Act gives him the power to dictate specifically how the club is run, now I might be mistaken but I do not believe that any other sport in Ireland is so regulated. Why is this the case to ensure that public safety and security is assured.
    Now back to the individual: The 2006 Firearms act imposes very significant requirements on the applicant for a firearms certificate depending on the type of firearm being applied for, 1) Firearms Storage conditions defined by statute, escalating depending on the number and nature of the firearms stored in the individuals home, back again to the cost of implementing such storage conditions, in cases where restricted firearms are involved then there needs to be gun safes to particular BS standards, alarms are required to be monitored after a certain number of firearms are stored and then backed up any a GSM alarm if x number of firearms are stored or at the direction of the superintendent regardless of the number. Why the extensive storage and alarm requirements in the interest of Public Safety and Security.
    Next comes the application process, superintendent for non restricted firearms and Chief Superintendent for restricted firearms and here is the start of the confusion, a .22 semi auto rifle limited to 10 shot capacity is applied for as a non restricted license to the Superintendent, sorry it just occurred to me I did not mention the 2008 Miscellaneous Firearms legislation, this turned a workable 2006 Firearms act into a mess, enough said, getting back to above. Now if you apply for a .22 rifle semi auto 10 shot capacity that happens to be black and has any cosmetic appearance that makes it look like and Assault Rifle then application is to the Chief Superintendent, now a whole new raft of conditions apply, the Chief Superintendent usually a busy man needs to see you to discuss the application for this more dangerous black rifle, is there no other rifle that will fulfil the reason why you want this? It’s a scary black colour and it might frighten other range users?
    To me here is the most ridiculous failings of defining a .22 Semi Auto that’s black and looks like an assault rifle needing to be licensed as a restricted firearm. I think we all agreed that function and capacity are no different in the two firearms, the non restricted firearm can only have a capacity of 10 shots! But forcing the owners of Modern Sporting Firearms to go the restricted route, surely wastes the Chiefs time and I am sure this would be more valuable helping resolve the criminal investigation failings recently identified in the Inspectorates report! But the most perverse logic now falls into place, the AGS have a real issue with magazine capacity, 5 shot pistol, 10 shot Semi Auto Rifle, as a restricted .22 Semi Auto one is free to source and use 25 shot magazines, I have seen recently 100 shot magazines also, but lets fact it if the AGS had their way black rifles would be banned.
    And finally:
    The Minister said: “A key objective of firearms legislation is to protect society from the dangers associated with the misuse of firearms. While the great majority of licensed firearms do not give rise to specific concerns, the question has to be addressed whether specific categories of firearms pose risks to the extent that their ownership by private individuals should not be considered. This has to be seen against the background that An Garda Síochána is largely an unarmed police force.”
    Reading the reasons why the Minister is looking to ban certain firearms, in summary the report of the review between AGS and Justice is a collection of biased fact, interlaced with fiction and with not one shred of evidence to back up the conclusions of the report.
    Scare tactics to scare the members of the government to pass draconian laws.
    How can one be expected to accept the detail cited in the report when at every turn the Gardai have been show to be wrong in the application of the firearms legislation, the report of the Garda Inspectorate has been clear in its conclusions that AGS core function of criminal investigation is dysfunctional and in need of a serious overhaul, so might I add that if they cannot administer their core function that is criminal investigation how in gods name can they be trusted to make observations on the lawful possession of firearms.
    So here we go, from the executive summary of the report:
    “The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána has raised concerns with DOJE in
    relation to the continued licensing of certain firearms, in the interests of public
    safety.”

    First off this is the concerns of the previous Commissioner, AGS Commissioner Callinans views on civilian ownership were well know, I met with him when he was CS in C Section and he was clear in this view then, this is the view of a police officer who has been in his career at the coalface of the most serious crime involving firearms, to say that his position would be biased is an understatement.

    The members of the Policy unit who spent their time in putting together this biased report would have been better served in advising correctly the Superintendents and CS on the intent of the 2006 legislation and not on the biased views of the ballistics section. Given better advice many of the court cases would have been avoided and the AGS embarrassment would have been limited.

    So it all about public Safety and Security, the Minister for Justice is determined that there will be no mass killings in Ireland and she has a mission to take away firearms that she has been advised are particularly nasty in this regard.

    Well wake up Minister, it has been well documented that you cannot legislate for the actions of a madman, this was the position of Ministers for Justice, take away a few individuals firearms and think you are safer but alas, what about the 150,000 illegally held firearms in this country. We do not have a Berlin wall separating Northern Ireland from the South, the NI firearms licensing legislation is such that there are many 1,000’s of pistols licensed in NI and it is accepted practice to carry pistols for personal protection in certain circumstances in NI, I note that the only mention of NI in the report was to say that it might be a good place to dump our excess firearms, if public safety is your concern and it is the firearm that is going to hop out of gun cabinets and create mayhem then surly you are wrong to condone the export of such lethal weapons.

    So the current situation, I have had licenses from 2004 to 2014, save 2009 to 2012 when my licenses were failed to be granted by the imposition of a blanket ban policy by my local CS. Prior to that I had certificates for the same pistols from 1996 to 2004 in NI.

    I first licensed a firearm when I was 19 in 1976, I was an avid shooter and in 1980 I wanted to add a target rifle, I was told by my local firearms officer that I could only have one rifle and that was the law, I sourced a copy of the 1925 firearms act and I could find no reference to such a limitation, this was my first but certainly not last encounter with the Gardai where they thought they made up the firearms legislation.

    Also in investigating the legislation which has been in force since 1925, it states as follows:
    (b) can be permitted to have in his possession, use, and carry a firearm or ammunition without danger to the public safety or to the peace, and

    So it would appear to me that in 1976 when I was granted my first certificate, it validated that in the opinion of the superintendent that I was not a danger to Public Safety.

    Between 1976 and 2004 let’s say on average I licensed 5 firearms per annum, in those 28 years there would have been 140 occasions when the Superintended determined that I am no risk to public safety and then granted me the certificate to hold lethal firearms in my home.

    Let’s be under no illusion, all firearms are lethal, singling out firearms because of the way they look, they way they function the capacity of the firearm makes not difference to the fact that if misused it can kill. If the minister thinks that by taking any one particular type of firearm from civilian ownership can be guaranteed to avoid a potential disaster she is mistaken.

    Citing tragic occurrences in other jurisdictions to justify her desire to hop to the tune of AGS is disingenuous to say the least, complex issues surround the circumstances of mass killings.

    So what is the bottom line, having invested may 10’s of thousands of Euro personally on target firearms lawfully granted, after spending may 1,000’s on home security and alarm monitoring and the installation of excessive security infrastructure. After spending many 1,000’s on ancillary equipment associated with the firearms and with no hope of recouping any of the investment, what to do?

    If I thought there was any justification for the actions of the minister then that would be a different story, but we know that AGS have lied have compiled a report to scare the general public, have taken case law out of context and has selectively quoted from judgements.

    In addition we know that the DOJ officials never intended to engage with the stakeholders in any meaningful way, they cannot be trusted, they never could be trusted and in conjunction with the severe critical assessment of performance of both AGS and DOJ how can they credibly push through such draconian legislation.

    The sooner we have a Police Board, the sooner we have an external head of the Gardai and a total reform of the DOJ the better for society.

    • Ronald Mupfupi

      Well said Declan. It is clear to anyone who wants to see what is going on that so much focus, time and resources are being WASTED by authorities targeting responsible law abiding hunters and target shooters who do not pose any risk AT ALL to ‘public safety’ by trying to push through draconian legislation which will have absolutely NO EFFECT on the real issues affecting public safety. I wonder how many of all the CRIMINALS involved in gangland shootings and robberies with firearms submitted licence applications to authorities for these firearms? Yea, while we are at it lets propose legislation to ban/restrict most motor vehicles – surely nobody needs a vehicle which can exceed 120km per hour – we have statistics, experts and newspapers to prove the carnage that ALL TYPES OF VEHICLES are causing on our roads every day – makes more sense. Never mind all the responsible and sober motorists. PUBLIC SAFETY CONCERNS NEED TO BE FOCUSED ON ILLEGAL FIREARMS AND CRIMINALS.

  4. ian mc gill

    Hi
    Could the nargc and other organisations use there databank to send every member a letter or email
    i had a meeting with a few members of a gun club that i am part of and none of them know anything that is going on
    Thats 10 more people that are aware this week alone

    Kind Regards

    ian mc gill

  5. patrick deans

    HELLO
    I KNOW A NUMBER OF NON CLUB MEMBERS WHO HAVEENT A CLUE GOT A CLUE
    ABOUT ANY OF THIS THIS INFORMATION IS NOT REACHING ALL SPORTSMEN AND
    HUNTERS ALIKE

    REGARDS

    PATRICK DEANS