Letter to Justice department

Sent: 16 December 2015 12:48
To: ‘Marion G. Walsh’
Subject: Firearms Directive

Dear Marion,

As you know, Irish shooting interests are represented at the level of the European institutions by the Federation of Associations for Shooting and Conservation (FACE), which also represents the national associations of firearms owners in 36 countries, including all EU. In addition to my position as National Director of NARGC, I am also the Irish representative to FACE where I have served variously as a Board Member and also two terms as Vice President over the past 20 years.

Among many other issues, FACE has been dealing with the Commission’s proposals to amend the Firearms Directive. I understand the Council of the EU will meet on Friday in Brussels to discuss the Directive and the proposals for amendment Article by Article. Following discussion and consultation with all the member state shooting organisations, FACE has prepared a position paper in response to what is proposed. While many of the proposals will not significantly affect Ireland as our regulatory regime is already largely in “harmony” with what is being proposed, there are nonetheless some proposals which would alter our situation and which we, and FACE would oppose. In particular, we oppose the proposal to use this Directive for a purpose for which it was never designed for i.e. anti-crime/terrorism measures. The Directive was implemented to facilitate the free movement of citizens with sporting firearms and is not even within the brief of the Commission which is responsible for security. It deals with firearms which are not what are being used by terrorist groups. The Commission’s proposals will manifestly have no impact on criminal/terrorist access to their firearms of preference. The only effect of the amendments as proposed will be to make life more difficult for law abiding citizens without contributing any measurable improvement to safety and security of EU citizens.

Of real concern for shooting associations here in Ireland is the proposal on minimum age. This would simply strangle the lifeblood of shooting associations and is a measure we would have to vigorously oppose. There are also issues around de-activated firearms and standards for same which we could support in principle. An EU policy on sound moderators could be welcome, if it removes the inconsistencies as exist here which commonly result in prejudice being the deciding factor rather than merit with many licensing officers. The creation of new categories of certain semi-auto firearms is illogical.

I attach for your information a copy of the FACE position paper which we support and I would ask you to bring it to the attention of whoever will be attending Friday’s meeting representing Ireland. If you have any queries on any matter in the paper, please feel free to give me a call or email.

Kindest regards,

Des Crofton
National Director
& Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition

FACE Position with AM on Firearms Directive 15 Dec2015