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Dublin: 15°C Saturday 12 June 2021

Who should be allowed to own a gun in Ireland? It's under discussion

This follows a report by a working group of An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice.

Image: gun via shutterstock

PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON the licensing of firearms is set to take place with the view to potentially imposing further limitations on the weapons.

As part of this, the range of criminal offences that prevent a person from possessing a firearm could be extended.

This would see individuals punished by a penalty of five years prohibited from holding firearms for a period of 10 years after the penalty was imposed.

In addition to this a person bound by a recognisance to keep the peace or be of good behaviour would be disentitled for the period they are subject to these conditions.

This comes after a report today from An Garda Síochána and Department of Justice Equality Working Group.


The conditions for gun ownership internationally are examined in the report. In the United Kingdom individuals who have served any form of custody or preventive detention for three years or more are prevented from owning firearms. 

Those sentenced to more than three months but less than three years are forbidden from owning a gun for five years after their release.

Types of weapons 

The report also suggested restrictions being placed on the types of firearms that are available to the public.

It was suggested that the licensing of handguns be restricted to specified Olympic ones. Also that semi-automatic shotguns capable of holding more than three cartridges and centre-fire semi-automatic rifles also be banned.


There has previously been a level of concern about compensation to be advanced to gun owners in the case that their currently legal firearms are criminalised.

Within the new report, legal arguments from the UK and Europe are given to support the premise that, “what is in the State’s gift cannot be required to be compensated if it is withdrawn.”

On the proposed change in legislation, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerland, said:

Mass shootings have happened in other jurisdictions over the past number of years with tragic consequences. A common theme in some of these shootings is that the firearms used are legally owned. I think it is only right that we consider options now, rather than endure a similar tragedy here.

Interested parties are invited by the Minister to make submissions on the Working Group report.

Read: Gun control review sparks calls for compensation schemes

Also: Handguns are now the choice of gangland criminals – so more people are dying

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