An Garda Síochána Statement on Licensing of Night Imaging Equipment (Scopes)

In correspondence date 24th May 2023, the following statement (or restatement) of the position on night imagery equipment has been received from the Firearms Policy Unit of An Garda Síochána.

“The Firearms Policy Unit, Crime Legal, has been liaising with the Department of Justice in recent weeks in respect of items defined by Section 1 (g) (i) of the Firearms Act 1925 as amended.

In December 2022 the Department of Justice issued advices to Registered Firearms Dealers in this jurisdiction concerning the importation and sale of telescopic sights as defined by Section 1(g)(i) of the Firearms Act 1925 as amended i.e.:

“(i) telescope sights with a light beam, or telescope sights with an electronic light amplification device or an infra-red device, designed to be fitted to a firearm …”

The Department has advised, confirmed by recent advices received from the Office of the Attorney General, that Statutory Instrument 21/08, as amended, provides that telescopic sights defined by Section 1(g)(i) of the Act are in fact Restricted Firearms. Therefore, these items/devices should not be sold to a person unless that person is in possession of a Restricted Firearm Certificate granted by a Divisional Chief Superintendent of An Garda Síochána. Applications to authorise the possession and use of silencers/moderators remains unchanged and will continue to be made to District Superintendents.

Individuals who wish to possess, use or carry a telescopic sight as defined by Section 1(g)(i) of the Firearms Act 1925 (above) as amended, must apply to the Divisional Chief Superintendent on Form FCA1 for a Restricted Firearm Certificate. An additional charge of €80 will apply if the application for a Restricted Firearm Certificate is granted by the Chief Superintendent.

As per the Commissioner’s Guidelines in respect of ‘Additional Requirements in the Case of an Application for a Restricted Firearm Certificate’;

Section 3 of the Firearms Act 1925 as amended, requires an application for a restricted firearm certificate to be made to the Commissioner who has delegated his function under this section to members of the Garda Síochána holding the rank of Chief Superintendent. The Chief Superintendent must be satisfied as to the following requirements:

a) that the applicant fully complies with the conditions as provided for in section 4 of the Firearms Act 1925 as amended by section 32 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, i.e. the conditions in the case of an application for a non-restricted firearm (as outlined above).

b) that the applicant has good and sufficient reason for requiring the firearm for which the certificate is sought, and

c) has demonstrated that the firearm is the only type of weapon appropriate for the purpose for which it is required.

The Firearms Policy Unit is working closely with the Garda ICT Section in updating Forms FCA1 and FCR, and also the Firearms Section of the PULSE System to incorporate this application process and the amended forms will include information/advices for applicants in respect of applications to licence these devices. It is envisaged that individuals currently authorised to possess, use, and carry these devices will UPON RENEWAL (emphasis added) be required to make a separate application to the Divisional Chief Superintendent if applying to certify these devices as restricted firearms”.

(end of communication from AGS FPU)

Footnote: Deer Alliance HCAP has, in previous postings on this site, addressed this issue and pointed out the difficulties in the legislation so far as users are concerned. The Firearms Users’ Representative Organisation (FURG) to which Deer Alliance HCAP is affiliated, has identified amendment of this piece of legislation as a priority in submissions arising from the current review of legislation by the Firearms Expert Committee (see also previous postings on the subject of the FEC and the associated survey, which has a closing date of 2nd June 2023).