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Over 51,000 licences issued for shotguns and rifles

Blaser Combination Over & Under Shotgun/Rifle

According to a report published on the Agriland website on 19th August 2022, An Garda Síochána issued 51,508 firearms licences for shotguns, rifles and combination shotgun-rifles in 2021*.

This is a 15% increase in the number of licences issued for these types of firearms compared to 2020, when 43,638 certificates were granted.

Data released to Agriland by An Garda Síochána shows that just under 32,000 shotguns were licensed last year, along with 19,500 rifles and 16 rifle/shotgun combination firearms.

Licences were also issued for crossbows, air guns, pistols and human killers.

Type of firearm    2021 licences
Air gun                  1,457
Crossbow             5
Humane killer     4
Pistol                    1,029
Revolver              129
Rifle                     19,536
Rifle/Shotgun
combined           16
Shotgun              31,956
Spare Barrel     16
Speargun           3
Other                 59

Source: An Garda Síochána

In 2021, a total of 54,201 firearms licences were issued by Gardaí across the country.

At 4,879, Co. Cork had the highest number of licences issued, followed by Dublin with 4,032 and Tipperary at 3,674.

Longford had the lowest number of licences issued with 623.

The following table provides a county-by-county breakdown of the number of licences issued by An Garda Síochána in 2021:

County                   Number of firearms licences issued
Carlow                   1,656
Cavan                    1,478
Clare                      1,778
Cork                       4,879
Donegal                2,318
Dublin                  4,032
Galway                 3,303
Kerry                     1,997
Kildare                  2,213
Kilkenny               1,860
Laois                     1,379
Leitrim                  804
Limerick               1,800
Longford              623
Louth                    1,173
Mayo                    2,498
Meath                  2,406
Monaghan          1,217
Offaly                  1,728
Roscommon      1,425
Sligo                    757
Tipperary           3,674
Waterford          1,709
Westmeath        1,513
Wexford             3,535
Wicklow             2,455

TOTAL 54,201

Source: An Garda Síochána

Gardaí are responsible for licensing and authorising legally held firearms and ammunition.

Anyone wishing to possess, use or carry a firearm or ammunition must apply for a licence to the superintendent of the Garda district in which they reside.

A firearm certificate, if granted, costs €80 and is valid for three years. The holder may then renew the licence up to three months before it is due to expire.

It is mandatory that each applicant includes their doctor’s details on the renewal form.

Under legislation, Gardaí must provide a decision within three months of an application or renewal being submitted.

An Garda Síochána said that every effort is made to ensure that all applications are processed “as soon as is practicable”.

*Firearms Certificates are valid and renewable in three-year cycles.

Hunting Licences for Game and Open Seasons Order 2022

Précis of Statement by Minister Noonan on Hunting Licences for Game and Open Seasons Order 2022

Issued by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, 24 August 2022

The Open Season for wild bird and deer hunting will open on 1 September 2022.

Considerable work has been undertaken by NPWS to set out a range of options available for future Open Seasons Order, and a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders and interest groups in relation to future orders will be undertaken over the coming months. While there is no doubt that this will be a challenging process, the Minister is “keen to listen to the views of all of the interested parties”.

The public are reminded that only certain species may be hunted, and only at certain times, as set out below. The hunting of deer species may only be done with a rifle and still requires a specific Deer Hunting Licence which may be applied for online HERE

The species and dates between which hunting may take place is in keeping with previous orders. Based on the information available, the number of species under conservation threat, and our legal obligations under the Birds Directive, changes in the ambit of the 2023/2024 Order are very likely. In effect, this will mean the likely removal of certain species from the order. The Minister states that he intends consulting with the sector on these changes in advance of their application.

It is known that the conservation status of some of the bird species that may be hunted in Ireland is declining. In order to continue to protect and preserve the conservation status of these species, and to support sustainable hunting practices, a new way forward is required. This must be collaborative and based on scientific evidence.

HUNTING SEASONS FOR DEER SPECIES

Red Male (throughout the State excluding Co. Kerry)

1 September to 31 December

Red Female & Antlerless Deer (throughout the State excluding Co. Kerry)

1 November to 28 February

Sika Male (throughout the State)

1 September to 31 December

Sika Female & Antlerless Deer (throughout the State)

1 November to 28 February

Fallow Male (throughout the State)

1 September to 31 December

Fallow Female & Antlerless Deer (throughout the State)

1 November to 28 February

Muntjac Deer (throughout the State)

1 September to 31 August

NOTES

1: Antlerless deer are construed as including any male deer without antlers, of less than one year, i.e. a calf.
2: The minimum recommended legal calibre for hunting Irish deer species is with a 100 grain bullet with 2100 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, effectively meaning in the range .243 to .308.
3: “Red deer” includes red deer hybrids.

The Open Season Order for game birds and wildfowl can he viewed HERE

 

SEASON 2022-2023 – NEW BEGINNINGS FOR HUNTERS ON COILLTE LANDS

With the Season for hunting of male deer opening on Thursday 1st September, licensed hunters holding permits to hunt deer on Coillte forest property will be obliged to use the Hunting Area Management System (HAMS) to reserve hunting days and times and to check in and check out of licensed forest properties, and to input other information regarding deer seen or shot, as well as other relevant information.

HAMS is best used through a PC rather than the ‘phone app, which appears not to have yet achieved an optimum stage of development.

The system may appear to be cumbersome and difficult to navigate to first-time users, so hunters are recommended to familiarise themselves with operation of the system well before their first scheduled hunting trip.

HAMS have published a useful series of instructional videos on their dedicated YouTube channel, which can be accessed HERE

Ireland’s 100,000-plus gun owners: Who are they, where are they and what firearms do they own? Irish Times, 6th AUGUST 2022

Weekend illustration for gun ownership in Ireland

The understated nature of Irish gun ownership means the uninitiated are sometimes surprised when they hear how many legally held firearms there are in Ireland. Graphic: Paul Scott

The following article on gun ownership in Ireland appeared in the Weekend Review Section of the Irish Times on Saturday 6th August 2022. Written by Conor Gallagher, Crime Correspondent of the Irish Times, it iss based on multiple interviews including an interview with Liam Nolan, Course Director of Deer Alliance HCAP and spokesperson for the Firearms Users’ Representative Group.

‘There’s a lot of ignorance out there about firearms so people can get the wrong idea about us’

The induction course for new staff in the Firearms Unit of the Department of Justice is more interesting than most.

A senior official comes in with a box of bullet and shell casings and takes employees through various types of firearms ammunition, from the tiny .22lr round used for target shooting and hunting small game, to the much larger .308 rifle round mainly used for hunting.

There’s also a field trip to one of the 18 authorised shooting ranges in the country where staff have an opportunity to fire the guns they’re responsible for regulating.

The induction helps staff understand the jargon involved in firearms licensing. They learn the difference between a rimfire cartridge, which is typically less powerful than a centre-fire cartridge, and that a 12-gauge shotgun shell is bigger than a 20-gauge.

“The problem is that the jargon and technology is so interchangeable that it’s very difficult to understand that without many, many years of anorak behaviour,” the senior department official, who asked not to be named due to the nature of his work, said after giving a version of the presentation to The Irish Times.

Getting the terminology right is vital. “Don’t call it a weapon whatever you do. Call it a firearm, maybe call it a gun. But don’t call it a weapon. Weapons are for hurting people. If you use a firearm to do that you’ll probably go to jail,” one gun owner reacted after I made the verbal faux pas.

While the language surrounding firearms can be confusing, the legislation regarding their use is downright bewildering. By many estimations Ireland has the strictest gun laws in the EU; their use by the public is governed by 11 pieces of primary legislation, 31 statutory instruments, three EU directives and several High Court judgments.

Gun owners tend to be a quiet group. “People don’t go on about their hobby. It might be because of security fears, it might be that their neighbours are against hunters. There’s a lot of ignorance out there about firearms so people can get the wrong idea about us,” said one man from Co Clare who owns two firearms, one for target practice and one for hunting.

Another said he usually brings his rifle to the car in a bag in pieces to avoid awkward questions from neighbours. “It depends where you live. If you live in a rural area like I used to, nobody will raise an eyebrow if they see a shotgun. That might be different in Dublin 2, obviously.”

The understated nature of Irish gun ownership means the uninitiated are sometimes surprised when they hear how many legally held firearms there are in Ireland. “One in eight households now armed,” read one newspaper headline last year.

The exact figure is surprisingly hard to determine. According to the last published figures from An Garda Síochána, there were 208,835 active licences at the end of 2020. But licences must be renewed every three years, meaning this number changes frequently as people renew and cancel their registrations.

The official said the most recent figure he had is 202,000 licensed guns, he said, meaning four guns per 100 people or one for every 10 households. But the actual number of gun owners is far lower as many people own more than one firearm. There is no legal limit on the number of guns a person can own. Some enthusiasts have been known to have 10 or more firearms of various types.

“It is very hard to tell but the figure they tell us is somewhere between 125,000 to 140,000, somewhere in between there,” the official says. This means, at the higher end, gun owners make up about 2.7 per cent of the population.

Unsurprisingly, it also varies from county to county and rural areas invariably have higher ownership rates than urban areas. For example, last year 2.29 per cent of Leitrim residents were granted a firearms licence compared with 0.27 per cent of Dublin residents.

But even using the highest available figures, the rate of gun ownership in Ireland is less than a third of the EU average. In Finland, there are 34 guns for every 100 people and in Cyprus 34 per 100 — both pale in comparison with the US which has 120 legal guns for every 100 people.

Furthermore, gun ownership has remained relatively steady over the years. Going by Garda statistics, the number of licences in effect since 2014 has ranged between 185,000 and 209,000. There is some evidence of an upward trend in recent years but the increases have been small.

A sure way to have your application denied is to say you want a gun for self-defence; that’s not a valid reason to own a firearm in Ireland

You have to get a licence before you get a gun, and obtaining one is not a simple matter. Applicants must provide details of their medical and employment history, the phone numbers of two referees and evidence of competence in handling the gun.

If you want a firearm for target shooting, you need evidence you’re a member of a shooting club. If you want one for hunting you need to prove you have enough land to hunt on, or at least permission from a landowner who does. Guns will only be licensed for their intended purpose, so a hunting shotgun will not be licensed for target practice and a pistol will not be licensed for pest control.

A sure way to have your application denied is to say you want a gun for self-defence; that’s not a valid reason to own a firearm in Ireland. However, the current legislation appears to allow, in very limited circumstances, the use of a legally held gun to defend one’s home if the situation arises.

“But really, a firearm shouldn’t be kept in a way that you can easily resort to it for self-defence” said one Garda superintendent responsible for licensing firearms.

He is referring to the strict conditions Gardaí can place on how a firearm is stored. These include requiring a gun safe which is bolted to the wall and floor or requiring that a firearm be broken into parts and stored in different parts of the house. These arrangements are subject to regular spot-checks by gardaí and in some circumstances, the owner may be required to store the gun at their local gun club or shooting range.

Figures obtained by The Irish Times show the vast majority of licensed firearms – almost 80 per cent- are shotguns with most of the remainder being rifles.

The legislation regarding handgun ownership has been subject to the most change in recent years. Since 2015, no new licences can be granted for handguns with centre-fire ammunition (where the firing pin impacts the centre of the cartridge and ignites the round). But licences for guns first obtained before 2015 can be “grandfathered in”, meaning renewed, the department official says. Less powerful rimfire or air-powered handguns are also still allowed for target shooting.

As time goes on, the department expects the number of legally held centre-fire handguns to gradually decrease to zero as the owners age. However, there is little sign of this happening yet. Between 2019 and 2021, almost 3,400 licences were issued for pistols or revolvers.

The remaining types of licensed firearms include a broad range of guns including combined rifle/shotguns, with 16 licences issued last year; “humane killers” for use on animals, with four licences issued last year, and spear guns used for fishing, with three licences issued last year. Another 42 licences for crossbows, which are sometimes used for target shooting, have also been issued since 2019.

“Guns are like tools. You use the right tool for the job. If I want to shoot rabbits I’m not going to use a high powered rifle and I’m not going to use a shotgun to target shoot as you wouldn’t hit anything,” said one owner of multiple firearms.

By far the most common complaint from gun owners is the lack of consistency with which the legislation is applied.

The legislation grants the local Garda superintendent a large degree of discretion in deciding what constitutes a “good reason” for gun ownership. This gives rise to instances where people feel they have been refused a licence based on a superintendent’s whim or their perceived inherent dislike for firearms.

One gun owner complained about a superintendent who would not license telescopic sights. Another complained their local superintendent is reluctant to grant permission for sound reduction devices, commonly referred to as silencers.

These additions can make a firearm appear more intimidating but they do nothing to increase its lethality, the department official says, but some superintendents will take them into account when making a decision.

“The inconsistency of interpretation is a big concern across the country. Superintendents are interpreting the legislation in a widely varying way on this ‘good reason’ issue,” says Liam Nolan of the recently founded Firearms Users Representative Group (FURG).

The Department official acknowledges there can be inconsistencies but points out that there are benefits to having the decision made at a local level by a superintendent. “They can access knowledge of the applicant that a central authority wouldn’t be able to do as easily.”

Most firearms owners with complaints about the current system believe the Garda are overzealous in their interpretation of the law. One exception is a Defence Forces member who legally owns three firearms. He believes the Gardaí can be too lax and, being mostly unarmed themselves, can lack firearms knowledge.

“In 15 years of firearms ownership, I’ve only had one visit from a guard,” he said. When the guard did visit he did not know basic information such as the minimum legal length for a rifle or shotgun, he said. “It has also been rare that my referees are called by gardaí.”

He added that the physical firearms licence does not have a photograph on it, meaning if it is stolen it could potentially be used to buy ammunition from a firearms store.

There have been multiple tragedies involving legally held firearms over the years, perhaps most notably in Lixnaw, Co Kerry, last year when Eileen O’Sullivan and son Jamie were shot dead by partner and father Mossie O’Sullivan, who then took his own life.

Another concern is the use of stolen guns by criminals. There have been some incidents of stolen shotguns being used in robberies here but rarely in more serious offences. “Large shotguns and low-powered handguns are simply suited to the job of targeted murder,” a Garda source said. The largest single theft of guns, from a gun shop in Wicklow in 2012, appears to have been motivated by a desire to sell the guns on, rather than using them in crime.

According to Garda figures, 239 firearms have been reported stolen since 2019, including 17 under the category ‘revolvers/pistols/machine guns’.

The issue of gun safety also arises in the context of mental health. According to figures from the Central Statistics Office, there were 76 suicide deaths by firearm between 2015 and 2019, all but one involving men (more recent figures are not available due to the need to wait for the coroners process to be completed). But these have been on a downward trend; in 2019 there were seven incidents.

In June, Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne announced the formation of a five-person Firearms Expert Committee to make recommendations on how the firearms regime can be improved, including on how the rules can be more consistently applied.

Other issues to be examined include changes to what type of guns should be licensable and if there should be a limit on how many guns one person can own.

The announcement has raised concerns, from groups such as FURG, that further restrictions could be introduced. There is also disquiet over a lack of representatives from the hunting or sports shooting communities on the committee.

The Minister said it would be unwieldy to have representatives from all sectors on the committee. He also pointed out it will be advisory in nature and he will not be obliged to accept its recommendations.

He said it will be open to the committee to examine the role of firearms in recent tragedies. “But the challenge is always that if somebody decides to kill somebody, in some of those cases the gun was simply the mechanism,” Mr Browne said. “I don’t think legally held weapons are a motivation for the carrying out of murder-suicides or other similar types of tragedies.”

Conor Gallagher is Crime Correspondent of The Irish Times.

HCAP RANGE TEST SATURDAY 6th AUGUST 2022 – SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES

 

 

 

 

 

 

The candidates listed below all completed their Deer Alliance Hunter Competence Assessment Programme with a Range Test at the Midland Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore on Saturday 6th August 2022. Thanks go to the Midland Range management and personnel, including J. P. Craven and Tony Saunders, and to Deer Alliance Range Officers Pat Scully and Liam McGarry. Successful candidates received their HCAP Certificates, ID cards and badges from Liam Nolan, Deer Alliance HCAP Course Director.

NEW HCAP-CERTIFIED CANDIDATES, DATE OF CERTIFICATION 6th AUGUST 2022:

BUCKLEY, Tanya, 2022/71
CHOWANIEC, Adam, 2022/0095
COYNE, Enda, 2022/0104
FIELDS, Andrew, 2022/0097
GETHINS, Kyle, 2022/0094
HALLINAN, John, 2022/0091
KAVANAGH, David, 2022/0093
KAVANAGH, Dylan, 2022/00101
KISSANE, David, 2022/0100
LARKIN, Richard, 2022/0077
LAWRENCE, Michael, 2022/0078
McGRATH, Daniel, 2022/0103
O’NEILL, Simon, 2021/0026
O’TOOLE, Martin, 2022/0089
ROCHE, Shakur, 2022/0102
THORNTON, John, 2022/0099
TURNER, Graham, 2022/0011
VAN LEEUWEN, Dylan, 2022/0090

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES

 

HCAP RANGE TEST SATURDAY 6th AUGUST 2022

SIKA HIND – THE HCAP RANGE TEST TARGET. THREE SHOTS IN A FOUR-INCH GROUP INSIDE A SIX-INCH AIMING MARK, FOLLOWED BY THREE SHOTS (TOTAL NINE SHOTS) IN THE PRONE POSITION (100 metres), SITTING/KNEELING (60 metres) and STANDING ( 40 metres). LEGITIMATE STALKING AIDS eg STALKING STICKS, BIPODS, TRIPODS MAY BE USED.

The following candidates are eligible to participate in the HCAP Range Test taking place at the Midlands Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly R35 NC58 on Saturday 6th August 2022.

All candidates should be present at the Midland Range Members’ building from 9.30 a.m. The first shots will be fired downrange at 10.00 a.m. or as close as possible to that time and all candidates should be finished on the Range by 12 noon.

Candidate should bring valid ID, evidence of current shooting insurance and valid firearms certificate for the firearm to be used.

Note: the .223 calibre rifle is not accepted by Deer Alliance HCAP as a deer-legal firearm and may not be used for the Range Test.

ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES

BUCKLEY, Tanya
CHOWANIEC, Adam
COYNE, Enda
FIELDS, Andrew
GETHINS, Kyle
HALLINAN, John
KAVANAGH, David
KAVANAGH, Dylan
KISSANE, David
LARKIN, Richard
LAWRENCE, Michael
McGRATH, Daniel
O’TOOLE, Martin
ROCHE, Shakur
THORNTON, John
TURNER, Graham
VAN LEEUWEN, Dylan

HCAP MCQ SATURDAY 30th JULY 2022 – RESULTS

The following candidates (HCAP numbers, followed by mark achieved) were successful in the HCAP MCQ held in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Carlow, on Saturday 30th July 2022 and are eligible to participate in the HCAP Range Test to be held at the Midlands Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly R35 NC58 on Saturday 6th August 2022. Procedures for Range Tests will be posted here separately.

Candidates who were Deferrals or No-Shows at this MCQ on 30th July 2022 will be carried forward to the next scheduled MCQ, except where they have missed two or more MCQs without notice.

2022/0011, 92%, Pass
2022/0089, 98%, Pass
2022/0090, 90%, Pass
2022/0091, 88%, Pass
2022/0093, 96%, Pass
2022/0094, 88%, Pass
2022/0095, 80%, Pass
2022/0097, 90%, Pass
2022/0099, 84%, Pass
2022/0100, 86%, Pass
2022/0101, 84%, Pass
2022/0102, 82%, Pass
2022/0103, 88%, Pass
2022/0104, 98%, Pass

The following candidate (HCAP number, followed by mark achieved) was unsuccessful and is required to re-sit the MCQ stage before proceeding to any Range Test. The application fee for Repeat Candidates is €50.00. “Fail” grades may be appealed to the HCAP Assessment Committee, subject to written application accompanied by re-checking fee, €50.00. Where written application for re-checking is received, it is reviewed by the Committee at the next scheduled Committee meeting following receipt of application. Applications for re-checking must be received within 10 (ten) days of publication of results on this blog.

2022/0096, 68%, Fail

 

CALIBRE .223 – DEER-LEGAL OR NOT?

A variety of .223 Remington cartridges with a .308 Winchester (right) for comparison

The question of legality of the calibre .223 rifle for hunting of wild deer or for purposes of the HCAP Range Test crops up regularly and recent correspondence received by Deer Alliance HCAP suggests that the .223 has been approved for use by the NPWS as meeting requirements.

The Regulations governing this, S.I. No. 239/1977 (Wildlife Act, 1976 (Firearms and Ammunition) Regulations, 1977) specifies that you can only use a centre-fire rifle of not less than .22 calibre with a muzzle energy of not less than 1700 foot-pounds to hunt deer species and such rifles must use bullets weighing not less than 55 grains.

Leaving aside for the moment the question of minimum legal versus minimum recommended calibre, it would appear that the .223 does not meet the muzzle energy (ME) requirement of “not less than 1700 foot-pounds”.

An analysis of the different ammunition manufacturers’ published ballistics show that no .223 ammunition in the range 55 grains and upwards meets the minimum requirement of 1700 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle.

For example, Sellier & Bellot produce the .223 Remington ammunition in bullet weights ranging from 52 grains to 77 grains. Muzzle energy is measured in joules, with one joule being equivalent to 0.737562 foot-pounds (for an approximate result, divide the energy value by 1.356). The Sellier & Bellot in 55-grain delivers 1822 joule of energy at the muzzle, which is equivalent to 1343.838 foot-pounds. The 69-grain Hollow-Point Boat-Tail round delivers 1904 joule at the muzzle, equivalent to 1404.318 foot-pounds.

The Hornady 55-grain bullets delivers only 1282 foot-pounds at the muzzle, reducing to 995 foot-pounds at 100 yards. The Hornady 68-grain bullet delivers 1323 foot-pounds at the muzzle.

The Federal 55-grain bullet also delivers 1282 foot-pounds at the muzzle, reducing to 1008 at 100 yards.

The Lapua 55-grain bullet delivers 1642 joule, 1211 foot-pounds at the muzzle, while the 69-grain bullet delivers 1623 joule, 1199 foot-pounds at he muzzle.

The Sierra 55-grain bullet delivers 1262 foot-pounds ME, while the Sierra 77-grain bullet delivers 1264 foot-pounds ME.

It is apparent from this cross-section of manufacturers and their associated published ballistics information, that the .223 calibre does not meet the legal requirement of 1700 foot-pound ME  in any bullet weight from 55-grain to 77-grain.

Having regard for the foregoing, it is clear that the .223 calibre rifle should not be approved by NPWS WLU in relation to issue of a deer hunting licence based on use of this calibre and will not be accepted as a deer-legal calibre by Deer Alliance HCAP for purposes of the HCAP Range Test.

FIREARMS USERS REPRESENTATIVE GROUP OPPOSE STRUCTURE AND MAKE-UP OF NEW FIREARMS EXPERT COMMITTEE

JAMES BROWNE TD, MINISTER OF STATE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, WHO HAS ESTABLISHED THE FIREARMS EXPERT COMMITTEE WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF REVIEWING FIREARMS LEGISLATION IN IRELAND AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS ARISING FROM THAT REVIEW

SHOOTING GROUPS COME TOGETHER TO PROTEST THEIR CONCERNS AT PROPOSED “FIREARMS EXPERT COMMITTEE” STRUCTURE AND MAKE-UP

BACKGROUND

The establishment of a five-person “Firearms Expert Committee” was announced by the Department of Justice on 24 th June 2022 on behalf of James Browne TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice.

The establishment of such a body was first proposed in media interviews by Minister Browne in
September 2021 and confirmed in the document, Justice Plan 2022, published in March 2022
(paragraph 35, page 15 of that document).

The terms of reference for the Committee were later stated as:

1: To carry out an assessment of all types of firearms which are currently licenced in the State
2: To determine their use under the existing licensing system.
3: To make recommendations based on this assessment on which types of firearms should be
licensable in the State and for what purposes.
3: To consider whether firearms certificates should be conditioned to specify the locations where the firearm may be used.
4: To consider whether firearms certificates should be conditioned to limit the use of the firearm to the purpose for which the firearms certificate was sought.
5: To consider whether there should be a limit on the number and type of firearms a person may hold.
6: To make recommendation on other matters that might be examined in the future.
7: To provide a report or reports containing recommendations on these matters to the Minister
8: To examine any other firearms licensing matter or carry out any other relevant task the
Minister considers appropriate during the Committee’s term.

Expressions of Interest in appointment to the Committee were invited early in April 2022, with a
closing date of 29th April 2022. Two places on the Committee were allocated in advance to
representatives of An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice respectively, with expressions of interests invited in respect of the position of Chairperson and two individual members. According to the Department of Justice, in total, fourteen applications were received for the position of Chairperson and thirty-four for the position of Ordinary Member.

Having regard for the make-up of the Committee as announced on 24 th June, the Firearms Users Representative Group, on behalf of its participating member groups, are deeply concerned at the fact that the community of shooting and hunting enthusiasts which their participating members represent is largely unrepresented.

There is no doubt that firearms legislation in Ireland is overdue for review and consolidation. There are eleven Acts of the Oireachtas, thirty-one Statutory Instruments and three EU Directives governing the possession, user and carriage of firearms in Ireland. Firearms legislation in Ireland is widely regarded by many as the most restrictive in Europe and differs significantly from the procedures and protocols applicable in other Member States of the European Union. According to available sources, with an estimated 235000 legally-held firearms in use across an estimated 150000 to 175000 individual owners, while gun ownership in Ireland is less than one-third of the average level of ownership across the majority of EU Member States. Meanwhile, gun crime is largely restricted to a criminal underworld, which will remain unaffected by firearms legislation, current or proposed. Gun crime involving licensed firearms owners is limited to a very small number of isolated cases with specific surrounding circumstances. Criminals will always have access to firearms, with none of the restrictions applicable to the law-abiding sporting shooter.

OUR CONCERNS

The deep concern felt by the Firearms Users Representative Group relates to the complete lack of representation of sporting shooters on the new Committee, and the fact that the wide-ranging terms of reference of the Committee are likely to have implications for owners of sporting firearms across a range of shooting disciplines. There is no provision for consultation with sporting shooters, no provision for access to Minutes of meetings of the Committee, or to review or comment on any recommendations of the Committee.

By his action in establishing the FEC in the form proposed and without open consultation with all stakeholders, the Minister has done something unique here, he has united all users of firearms into a cohesive grouping, which never has never happened to this level before. The Firearms Users Representative Group is a fully inclusive and a fully representative voice for firearms users across the widest range of shooting disciplines.

CALL ON MINISTER TO RECONSIDER MAKE-UP OF FIREARMS EXPERT
COMMITTEE AND TO ENSURE PROPER REPRESENTATION OF FIREARMS USERS

In these circumstances, the Firearms Users Representative Group and its participating organisations have at best a limited confidence in the Committee and at worst, a highly guarded response to its establishment. We now call on Minister of State James Browne TD to reconsider the make-up of the Committee, to enlarge its base and to ensure full and proper representation of sporting shooters across the range of shooting disciplines embodied by the Firearms Users Representative Group, or alternatively put a system in place where this Group is fully consulted at all stages of this process, and nothing is produced for implementation without consultation and agreement with the Firearms Users Representative Group.

FURG has written to the Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne TD expressing the above concerns and await his response.

Spokespersons for the Firearms Users Representative Group:

Dan Curley, 086 2328 356, Email: chairman@nargc.ie
Liam Nolan, 086 1927 845, Email: lmnolanbl@gmail.com

Member Organisations: National Association of Regional Game Councils, FACE Ireland
(representing 14 fieldsports organisations), Irish Deer Society, Irish Deer Commission, Wild Deer
Association of Ireland, Deer Alliance HCAP, Countryside Alliance (Ireland), Country Sports Ireland, Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland, Irish Firearms Dealers Association, Irish Clay Target Shooting Association, National Association of Sporting Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Irish Country Sports Association, Precision Rifles Ireland.

(A number of other organisations are considering joining, and are awaiting the approval of their
respective boards of management)

NEXT HCAP TRAINING WORKSHOP, MCQ & RANGE TEST – CONFIRMED DATES

Applications are open for the next scheduled HCAP Training Workshop and MCQ, taking place on Saturday 30th July 2022 at the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Kilkenny Road, Carlow, Co. Carlow R93 N207 (10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.), followed a week later by the Range Test at the Midland Range, Blue Ball, Tullamore, Co. Offaly on Saturday 6th August 2022 commencing at 10.00 a.m. sharp.

Application can be made through the Online Applications section from the homepage of the Deer Alliance website, cost €165.00 plus €35.00 for the hard-copy Stalker Training Manual. To apply online click HERE

Applications can also be made in hard copy by post (download and print Application Form from the Homepage of the website), with payment by cheque or postal order payable to Deer Alliance.

ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES

The following candidates are eligible to participate in this round of training and assessment:

ANHOLD, Heinrich
BEIRNE, Declan
BYRNE, Brendan
CHOWANIEC, Adam
FARRELL, Gavin
FENTON, Darren
FIELDS, Andrew
GETHINS, Kyle
HALLINAN, John
KAVANAGH, David
KAVANAGH, Dylan
KELLY, Alex
KISSANE, David
McGRATH, Daniel
O’BRIEN, Jason
O’DONOGHUE, Daniel
O’TOOLE, Martin
O’TOOLE, Patrick
ROCHE, Shakur
SZCZEPANIEC, Artur
THOMSEN, Birthe
THORNTON, John
TURNER, Graham
VAN LEEUWEN, Dylan

This list will be updated as applications are received. Last update, 27.7.2022

Five candidates were de-listed as eligible candidates on 21st June 2022, having been No-Shows at multiple successive MCQs in 2021 and 2022. These candidates must re-enter as Repeat Candidates if they wish to achieve HCAP certification.

Candidate numbers:

2021/0006
2021/0001
2021/0011
2021/0018
2021/0023

THIS EVENT MAY BE THE LAST OPPORTUNITY INTENDING CANDIDATES WILL HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN HCAP BEFORE THE START OF THE 2022-2023 SEASON. COURSES ARE NOT NORMALLY RUN DURING THE HUNTING SEASON, SEPTEMBER TO FEBRUARY EACH YEAR.