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

Sports Coalition Receives Lifetime Achievement Award!

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At the Press Reception on June 25th to mark the launch of the Great Game Fairs of Ireland in Shanes Castle, Co Antrim, The Sports Coalition was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Irish Country Sports & Country life Magazine. There to accept the award were:

l-r: Gerry McCarthy (WA 1500 Association of Ireland); Frank Brophy (Irish Bullseye Association); Des Crofton (NARGC); Paul Pringle of Irish Country Sports & Country life Magazine and Declan Keogh (NASRPC).

Meeting with Ms Francis Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice & Equality, and Ms Noreen O’Sullivan, Commissioner of An Garda Siochana

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By

Des Crofton, National Director – NARGC and Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition

Meeting with Ms Francis Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice & Equality, and Ms Noreen O’Sullivan, Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, at 521 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 at 10am on Wednesday, April 20th, 2015.

The Sports Coalition representatives were of Des Crofton (NARGC and Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition), Paul Walsh (Firearms Dealer), Victor Quirke, (Irish Bullseye Association), Mick Tope (NASRPC), Mark Maguire (Harbour House Range), Gerry McCarthy (WA1500 Association) and Sean Gilliland (Range Operator).

The Minister welcomed all and invited each party attending or representing an association at the meeting to introduce themselves

We could not let the occasion pass without remarking that the meeting had been a long time coming and indeed should have come long before the number of court challenges reached the levels they did.  We outlined that it is set against a background of the goalposts having been unfairly moved by the Gardai over the past six years.  We instanced the agreement on the Annex F list and the letters of encouragement from senior Garda Officers to apply for firearms which it is now being contended are restricted and therefore no longer licenceable.  We pointed out it is an act of extreme bad faith for the Gardai to be issuing pre-populated forms inviting people to renew their firearms certificates while knowing that a blanket policy to refuse will be applied.

There have now been almost 700 court cases with every single one seeking no more than compliance with the legislation.  It should be noted that none of the court challenges sought to widen the scope of availability of firearms or sought a reduction in the criteria to be met.  By the end of 2009, following the consultations and eventual enactment of the new legislation, the Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana had a very valuable prize in their hands – the respect and confidence of all representative associations.  But it is a matter of record that the respect and confidence achieved evaporated in the months and years following as a direct result of the actions of An Garda Siochana and inaction by the Department of justice.

Firstly, there are some general matters in the Justice Committee’s Interim Report we commented on.  The Joint Report of the Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana is predicated on the notion that a great many firearms are stolen from the homes of licence holders and end up in the hands of criminals in the commission of crimes and the Gardai have provided statistical data which they claim backs up that assertion.  However, the figures as presented give anything but a true reflection of what firearms have been stolen from the homes of licence holders and quite frankly, the statistics published lack credibility and there is no other way to put that.  At the meeting on the 29th, the Garda Commissioner, in the face of our comments on the credibility of the Garda statistics on stolen firearms, clarified that the correct figure for firearms stolen from homes over the relevant four year period was 1,100 firearms and not 1,710 as previously published.  This is of course more than a 50% margin of error!!!  But more importantly and worrying is the fact that the figures have been presented in a way which demonises firearms owners in the eyes of the public.  Others have published an analysis already of the statistics and both the Department and the Gardai are well aware of that.  If the statistics show anything at all it is that the security arrangements where they are implemented are working very well.  Set against the background of how the figures have been presented, we welcome the acknowledgement of the Oireachtas Committee of the responsibility and professionalism of firearms owners and we particularly welcome their caution against comparing licenced firearms owners with criminal activity and we urge everyone to kindly take note of that.

On behalf of the Sports Coalition we welcomed of the Interim Report of the Oireachtas Justice Committee as the first unbiased and objective consideration of the issues and difficulties around firearms ownership in this country.  That is not to say we can agree with everything in the Interim Report – we do not, but there is much we can agree with and we do believe the general direction and approach of the Justice Committee is the correct one and we welcome the Report for those reasons.

Turning to the specific recommendations in the Justice Committee’s Report:

1. The Committee strongly recommends that the Minister requests that the Garda Inspectorate carry out an independent review of the current firearms licensing regime;

It seems to us that this is just the beginning, or at least it should be.  The Justice Committee has confirmed it is continuing with its work and we believe intends, when finished, to issue a final report.  The Committee has also strongly recommended that the administration of the licensing system be referred to the Garda Inspectorate.  There is much to recommend this course.  If we are to attempt to fix whatever problems are in the system, it seems to us to be sensible that we know what problems we should fix from an objective assessment by an independent body.  The Sports Coalition had been calling for the Inspectorate to examine these issues for some time.  The Minister said she wished to first examine some matters concerning the terms of reference of the Inspectorate.

 

2. The Minister should establish a national firearms control and advisory licensing authority with an associated central database also accessible by an Garda Síochána;

We agree with this recommendation in principle, especially the concept of a centralised licensing system which will undoubtedly deliver consistency of approach and much needed knowledge over time, not to mention increased efficiency.  We are on record as calling for this previously.  However, we are totally opposed to any idea that the administration of a centralised system would rest within and under the control of An Garda Siochana and we made that clear at the meeting.  We agree that the Gardai should be the sole body in charge of character vetting – arguably the most important and critical aspect of assessment for suitability for a firearms certificate.  As such, an applicant for a firearms certificate should first be required to obtain a “character clearance certificate” from the Gardai before applying for a firearms certificate.  This model has huge benefits.  No records of any nature which might be regarded as confidential or of operational nature are required to be passed to anyone outside the Gardai.  The clearance certificate, if refused is a matter between the would-be applicant and the Gardai exclusively and would not involve the licensing authority.  This system would reduce the scope for argument and litigation substantially without compromising public safety.

We agree in principle with the other proposed functions of a National Licensing Authority albeit that much of how they would work needs to be discussed and given greater definition and relevance in the Irish context.

 3. A ballistics record of all licensed firearms should be created and maintained;

While we accept the sentiment behind this recommendation, we believe it is not possible, practical or proportionate for all firearms and I believe there was general agreement on this.  The focus here should be on those firearms which appear to be of concern i.e. short firearms.

4. The Committee recommends that the licencing of .22 calibre short firearms and centre fire semi-automatic rifles be temporarily restricted;

This is currently the most contentious and urgent issue as those firearms affected are currently commencing renewal and renewals will intensify in the second half of the year.  We do not accept that any justifiable case has been made to restrict or ban .22 calibre short firearms.  The simple test is amply illustrated by (a) the number of such firearms as have been stolen from the homes of licence holders since 2009 when the new security arrangements came into force and (b) of the tiny number stolen, the number which have been established as having been used in the subsequent commission of a crime.  We reminded the Minister that we have called for an independent risk assessment where the banning and/or restriction of any firearm is being contemplated and we outlined how this assessment could take place.  We said that the issue of the status of currently licensed .22 calibre short firearms and the future licensing of these firearms is of the utmost importance to the Sports Coalition.  We made clear there are no circumstances in which the Sports Coalition will accept a ban or cap in any form, whether through the front door, the back door or any other door, of .22 calibre handguns or any existing firearms for sporting purposes.  If there is a ban or cap, while we must obey the law, there will be very significant political consequences.

We had already made a submission to the Justice Committee as to how the current impasse involving .22 calibre short firearms can be resolved i.e. that .22 calibre firearms with barrel lengths of not less than 5 inches, suitable for competition under ISSF rules and with a magazine capacity of not more than 10 rounds be licenced.  We also suggested that this criteria should be regarded as also including existing Olympic short firearms (including where the barrel length is shorter as the Gardai have stated they do not have a problem with these).  The criteria suggested is prescriptive and will remove the adversarial system which has developed resulting in so many court cases.  There is absolutely no case to be made for restricting these firearms and we pointed to the relatively small number licensed nationally over the past 11 years since short firearms became licenceable again.  In addition, the notion that so-called Olympic style short firearms are somehow less lethal than any or all those currently licensed is an absolute fiction and has no basis in fact.  Anything which can be done with any of the .22 short firearms currently licensed can also be done with any of the so-called Olympic style guns without exception.

5. The Committee recommends that all firearms be stored in a gun safe;

The IFA made a strong case that farmers with just one shotgun who have to defend their stock from predators and roaming dogs, particularly at night, need to have quick access to their firearms and this was accepted and supported by all of the shooting associations.

6. It is recommended that holders of restricted firearms are required to have time control locks fitted to their gun safes only allowing access at pre-determined times;

While on the face of it, this appears a worthwhile move, we suggest it is neither practical nor in fact workable and the costs for licence holders would be prohibitive.  There was a general acceptance of this.

7. The Committee recommends the establishment of a structured and graduated licensing scheme.  

We suggested that this has merit and the details and structure should be worked out with the relevant shooting associations in due course but with exceptions in specific circumstances i.e. rifles, shotguns etc..

 

We also addressed some matters on which the Justice Committee had made no comment.  Head 2 of the Joint Report of the Garda Siochana and Department of Justice seeks to amend Section 4 of the Firearms Act 1925 by the granting of new powers of refusal of a firearms licence application based on: Proliferation, Calibre, Velocity of ammunition, Size and shape (appearance) of the firearm and Lethality of the firearm.  We vehemently opposed this amendment as being grossly disproportionate and wide open to abuse.  In fact we would regard this recommendation as a charter for refusing reasonable applications and in coming to this conclusion we are conscious of the many occasions these reasons have been attempted by licensing officers already but which have been struck down by the courts as being unreasonable.  We suggest there are sufficient powers within the legislation currently to address any concerns.

A further matter we raised is the issue of penalties.  We are at a loss to understand the absence of any mention of amendment to penalties in the Report of the Joint Working Group and the Justice Committee’s Interim Report.  We have made a submission on this to the Committee.  We do suggested there is a glaring omission and it is the absence of a special offence of “Theft of Firearm”.  The creation of such an offence would be a meaningful contribution to public safety and send out the right message.  This was supported by other associations and the IFA in particular.

We asked the Minister if it is intended that the meeting constitutes the entirety of the promised consultation in view of the complexity of the issues to be addressed.  She said that she intended to take all the views and contributions into consideration before deciding what next to do.

Finally, we invited the Minister to visit Harbour House Target Shooting Range to see first-hand how organised sports shooting is managed and conducted and the safety procedures which apply.  We noted that the Chairman and members of the Justice Committee had acknowledged how helpful and enlightening they found their visit to Harbour House and we had no doubt a visit would be of great benefit to the Minister’s considerations also.  We thanked her for the opportunity to put forward our initial views and we look forward to the next steps.

 

Briefing:

A briefing meeting for members of the Sports Coalition associations on what was discussed at the meeting with the Minister and related matters was held on May 6th in the Spa Hotel, Lucan which was well attended.  Also in attendance were Senator Paschal Mooney (FF), Senator Pat O’Neill (FG) and Councillor James Lawless (FF), all of whom addressed the meeting and affirmed their support for the Coalition.  The briefing was followed by a question and answers session with the meeting unanimously registering its support for the Coalition.

Attention Pistol Owners – Important Research

Attention Pistol Owners – Important Research

The Sports Coalition is carrying out research into pistol target shooting in Ireland. This project will provide valuable information that will increase general knowledge about the role of pistol target shooting and provide insights into some of the issues surrounding pistol target shooting in Ireland. Please note that all information supplied in the questionnaire is strictly confidential and no names or references to you are required. It should take no longer than five minutes to answer. We would be grateful if all pistol owners could return the questionnaire ASAP and not later than the 25th MAY 2015.

 

Questionnaire for Pistol Target Shooting Participants in Ireland

Firearms Review Update

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality has issued an interim report to the Minister for Justice and I attach a copy for your information.

Interim-Report-to-Minister-on-Firearms-Review

It can also be accessed on the link below.  I also set out below a copy of my email to the Chairman of the Committee sent on February 20th and you will immediately note the similarity between what I suggested and what is now recommended by the Committee.  All I can say is that the Committee’s interim report vindicates our stance, as it has accepted virtually every point we have made to date.  Please note that there is no recommendation to ban anything.  Please also note just some of the Committee’s statements:

The Committee was very impressed with the professionalism and dedication and responsibility of the owners of legally held firearms who presented at the Committee and who engaged with the Committee during the visit to Harbour House Sports Club in County Kildare.

The Committee cautions against comparing, in any way, the owners of legally held firearms with those engaged in criminal activity.

The Committee is very concerned about the information contained in the letter dated 5 March 2015 to the Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee detailing, among other things, the number of firearms reported lost or stolen from 2010 to 2014. 

The formation of a standing consultative forum which would include all major stakeholders should be considered. Such a forum would ensure that concerns and proposals from stakeholders could be put forward on a regular basis to the authority.

The Committee strongly recommends that the Minister request that the Garda Inspectorate carry out an independent review of the current firearms licensing regime.

We now look forward to engaging with the Minister in relation to the recommendations and the ongoing work of the Committee.

Kindest regards and well done to all.

 

Des Crofton

National Director – NARGC
&
Spokesperson for the Sports coalition

 

 

 

Dear Deputy Stanton,

 Firstly, my apologies for the slight delay in forwarding this document, which was due to a longer than expected consultation and debate by the Coalition members on the contents.

 I wish to again thank you and those members of your Committee who took the trouble to travel to Harbour House Shooting Range at Nurney, Co Kildare on Thursday 12th inst.  All appreciate that it is indeed somewhat troublesome for the Committee members to allocate the amount of time required for such a visit from a busy schedule.

 As I indicated to you, no one on the Sports Coalition side, nor indeed I believe in any shooting organisation, (there being two small ones not members of the ‘Coalition’) has any desire to be in conflict with the authorities.  That said, that is precisely where we find ourselves for reasons which are well documented and are not necessary to repeat here.

 There are a number of fundamental issues which the shooting associations believe, based on their separate and individual experiences, need to be addressed concerning the manner in which firearms licensing is administered in Ireland.  Our collective assessment is based on at least 10 years’ experience of problems encountered, but to a far greater extent over the last five years.

The most urgent and critical issue is the matter of the .22 calibre handguns currently licensed, which are now being regarded as restricted and therefore unlicenceable by An Garda Siochana.  If there was any credibility to the Garda position, it would mean that the vast majority of those firearms currently licensed are in fact held illegally by their owners and in such circumstances, given the alleged public safety issues relied upon, they should be removed from the owners’ possession immediately.  Any other position is illogical, incapable of rational understanding and would in fact represent a breach of duty under the Garda Siochana Act.  In that context it is important to note that the current firearms in this category were:

  1.  Agreed between the parties in 2009 as unrestricted.
  2. Listed as unrestricted in the Garda Commissioner’s Guidelines (ANNEX F) pursuant to that agreement.
  3. Offered to firearms applicants by Chief Superintendents and Superintendents instead of centrefire handguns (also pursuant to that agreement).

 Sports shooters have had to expend additional significant financial resources in securing their homes to hold these firearms under licence and range operators have spent tens of thousands upgrading their ranges to meet the Range Inspector’s requirements in providing secure facilities for using the guns, while firearms dealers have had to also improve security at their premises.  There is clearly a difficulty here in terms of both a technical and a political problem.

 But given the facts as are documented, it is self-evident that the licence holders concerned have a legitimate expectation that their firearms licenses for these guns will be renewed.  Under the current Garda policy, they will not.

 The Garda argument has been that guns are stolen from licence holders and used by criminals.  Their statistics simply do not support the proposition that licensed handguns are a source of supply to criminals which gives rise to a serious public safety problem.

 The Gardai have also argued that they are concerned about the concealability of these firearms.

 The Sports Coalition could accept the following as a basis to commence round table discussion on a wider review of the firearms licensing system:

 Immediate:

  1. In relation to the .22 handguns which are currently licensed, this matter must be resolved by a new S.I. before the 2015 renewal date.  The terms of resolution could restrict the licensing of such firearms to .22 calibre short firearms suitable for competition under ISSF rules (which include Olympic competitions), but with a barrel length of NOT LESS than 5 inches, and NOT LONGER than 30cm and with a magazine capacity NOT EXCEEDING 10 rounds.

 Advantages:

      1. This deals with the concealability issue and you will appreciate this having seen the firearms, almost all of this size, in Harbour House.
      2. The size, calibre and suitability for competition under ISSF rules is prescriptive which is the only basis which will bring certainty to what can and cannot be licensed, and therefore bring to an end the ‘conveyor-belt’ of court challenges.  Lists of suitable guns will not work (as we have seen) because firearms on a list will inevitably go out of production and be replaced by later/improved models.  With a list, there will always be the opportunity for an applicant to convince a court that the particular firearm which he/she sought to licence and which is not on the ‘list’ has characteristics which are the same as, or sufficiently similar to, what is on the list and therefore there is no reasonable basis for a licence refusal.  In other words, our solution would all but eliminate the opportunity for court challenges.
      3. It will defuse a major political problem which is currently set to arise at renewal time in 2015.
      4. It will remove the potential for up to 1,000+ court actions from license holders, firearms dealers and range operators seeking variously to:

 Licence holders – overturn refusals to renew decisions, compensation for loss of firearms and amenity, compensation for expenditure on mandatory security;

Firearms dealers – loss of stock value as there will be no market for existing stock held or for those firearms which would have to be handed in;

Range operators – loss of investment costs and profits.

 (It should be remembered that the existing .22 handguns which were licensed as unrestricted were from a list of firearms designated as unrestricted by an acknowledged agreement between An Garda Siochana, the Department of Justice, The Olympic Council of Ireland and the National Target Shooting Association – please see the numerous copy letters from Garda Chief Superintendents to firearms applicants and the copy correspondence between the Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana leading to the compilation of the agreed list, all annexed to the Sports Coalition Submission.  Set against that background, it is somewhat fanciful, as has been suggested by some within the relevant state agencies, that a ban could be achieved without the State having to meet substantial compensation claims.  We have received strong legal advice to that effect.)

 

  1. We could accept a temporary cap on licensing centrefire semi-automatic rifles with the exception of classic (old – pre 1950) models pending the outcome of a wider firearms licensing review.  In other words, with immediate effect, no new licenses would be issued for this category until a full review is complete.
  2. Medium term:

The establishment of a firearms review board comprising representatives of the main stakeholders (approximately 10/12 persons in total) which would examine the following issues:

 

Licence holders:

  • Public safety – risk assessment
  • Home security
  • Training of applicants
  • Firearms ‘apprenticeship scheme’ for the future
  • Ammunition type (velocity considerations)
  • Ballistics testing and recording
  • Recording of statistical data
  • Firearms categories versus use
  • Licence refusals and appeals system
  • Penalties for breaches of firearms legislation
  • Administration of the licensing system – independent centralised administration (except for applicant vetting), monitoring etc.
  • Centrefire variations which are unattractive to criminals

Firearms dealers – Criteria, security etc.

(Currently, while there is an S.I. for security standards at firearms owners’ homes, there is still no S.I. for security standards at firearms dealers’ premises and therefore no penalties for breaches by dealers.)

 Range Operators – Re-loading of ammunition, range security and compelability for range attendance.

 

Centrefire handguns:

In the medium term, we could also agree to allowing those who currently hold licenses for centrefire pistols to change, within calibre, for minimum 5 inch barrel target versions of their firearms.  This would address to a very large extent the issue of any military style pistols licensed and concealability for this category.  There would be no issue of any new licenses being issued and the current cap would be unaffected.  This would require an amendment to the legislation which could in any event be included in whatever amendments are ultimately agreed.

I believe, having consulted my colleagues in the Sports Coalition, the above could be the basis for a permanent solution.  This, or indeed any solution, will in any event only be achieved from round table discussion.  However, because of the distrust with which licence holders view the authors of the Joint Garda/DOJ Report, round table discussions would be virtually impossible without the oversight of an independent chairperson who would also act as guarantor of whatever is ultimately agreed between all the parties.

 

I believe what is proposed here, having regard to all the circumstances and concerns (perceived and/or real) is reasonable, practical and will deliver certainty.     It will also achieve the removal of conflict from this long standing dispute between the authorities and the end users.  It is important to say that, inevitably,  it will not find favour with every individual affected.  But I and my colleagues take our obligation to show leadership very seriously, and I am pleased to confirm that following discussion, debate and persuasion, it represents the unanimous view of all the associations in the Sports Coalition.

I sincerely hope what I have set out above is helpful to you in your capacity as Chair of the Justice Committee and that the Committee members can see that it represents both a desire and a willingness on the part of the end users to end conflict while addressing any reasonable public safety concerns.

I am available to meet you or other members of your Committee as you deem appropriate for the purposes of teasing out any aspect of what is proposed.

Yours sincerely,

 

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.