Minister releases New SI & planned new arrangements for firearms administration

Dear All,

 

The Minister for Justice & Equality, France Fitzgerald TD, published last Friday, September the 18th, a new S.I. (attached) governing the licensing of target handguns together with announcing planned new arrangements for the administration of the firearms licensing system generally (also attached).  These announcements come in response to the controversial report and recommendations of the joint review carried out by the Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana this time last year and the response and campaign to that report by the Sports Coalition.  Of significance is the fact that all of the arrangements which the Minister has announced were sought by the Sports Coalition in its numerous meetings, briefings and submissions.  Suffice to say that all firearms currently licensed are safe and there are no proposals to ban anything.  Of particular significance for game shooting people is the fact that the proposal to ban certain semi-automatic shotguns is dropped as are the proposals to give An Garda Siochana new powers to refuse firearms licence applications for any firearm based on calibre, appearance, proliferation etc.

 

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our colleagues in the Sports Coalition for their support and work over the past year.  I also wish to thank the many thousands of individual shooting people who contributed actively to our campaign by lobbying their local public representatives.  My appreciation also goes to those members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice & Equality and particularly its Chairman, David Stanton T.D., for their measured consideration and contributions to resolving what had become a difficult and complicated issue.  I also want to acknowledge the positive and pragmatic approach adopted by Minister Fitzgerald in arriving at her decision.  Her planned proposals will in time make a very positive contribution to removing the acrimonious and adversarial approach, which has characterised firearms licensing in this Country over the past ten years, while at the same time taking full account of public safety concerns.  It therefore goes without saying that I and the Sports Coalition welcome and fully endorse the Ministers announcement. Lastly, I wish to pay tribute to William Egan, Solicitor, who has been a fearless defender of shooting sports for the past twenty years. His achievements are unrivalled anywhere in this area.  He has provided free legal advice to the Sports Coalition since it was formed which has proved invaluable in our campaign. There are other individuals who are deserving of our gratitude and suffice to say I will be communicating that to those people personally in due course.

 

On a personal note, I am particularly proud to have been chosen by the sports shooting organisations in the Coalition to lead the campaign which has achieved this positive result.  It is for me the culmination of more than 6 year’s hard work which at times seemed hopeless and was punctuated in equal measure by highs and lows.  It is my hope that shooting people can now settle down to concentrating on participation in their chosen sport and leave behind the need to engage in a constant battle to even renew a firearms certificate.

 

I look forward to a more positive engagement with the DOJ and An Garda Siochana.

Desmond Crofton
National Director – NARGC
&
Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition

SECURITY REMINDER TO ALL GUN OWNERS

The legal requirements which apply mandatory obligations on gun owners to keep their firearms securely stored at their homes are contained in the FIREARMS (SECURE ACCOMMODATION) REGULATIONS 2009 (S.I. No. 307 of 2009).  The full text of the Regulations can be read on the link below.  The member organisations of the Sports Coalition urge all licence holders to firstly check that their firearms are stored in strict compliance with the regulations.  If there is any doubt as to whether all requirements are being met, consult with your club officers or contact one of the national bodies of the Sports Coalition.  A list of organisations can be found here:  National Bodies

 

The regulations lay down what are the minimum requirements for storage of firearms.  It is of course open to all licence holders to implement additional measures and we urge them to consider whether there is something extra they could do which is practical to improve their security.

 

For those people who have only one shotgun, there is no requirement to have it secured in a gun safe.  But the regulations stipulate that it must be fitted with a trigger lock and that it be broken down into its three main component parts and each part stored separately in different locations in the house.  We suggest that such owners might also consider installing a good quality gun safe which is securely fitted.

 

Lastly, we strongly advise all firearms owners when transporting their firearms to shooting competitions and/or hunting, to travel with the firearm securely locked in the boot of the vehicle and in a gun case or sleeve.  Keep rifle bolts and other parts essential to the operation of the firearm separately, perhaps on your person.  Never, under any circumstances leave a firearm in an unattended vehicle.  And never leave paraphernalia which would indicate gun ownership, such as shooting hats/clothing, cartridge belts, game bags etc., visible in the interior of the vehicle.  Put them out of sight in the boot.

 

It is the responsibility of every firearms owner to take all reasonable steps to ensure their firearm is not stolen.

 

** 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)