PUBLIC BUSINESS. - FIREARMS (TEMPORARY PROVISIONS) (CONTINUANCE) BILL, 1925—SECOND STAGE.

I move the Second Reading of the Firearms (Temporary Provisions) (Continuance) Bill, 1925. We passed, on the 5th April, 1924, an Act entitled "The Firearms (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1924." The operation of that Act was restricted to one year, and it will expire shortly. It is important that power should be taken to control the possession and use of firearms, and accordingly a permanent Bill has been drafted which will strengthen and simplify the law on this subject. The permanent Bill, which is in fact in draft, contains important modifications of the law, particularly in relation to fees payable by persons using or possessing guns. I regret that its introduction was unavoidably delayed, and that sufficient time would not remain for the discussion of this permanent measure by the Oireachtas before 4th April next, which is the date on which the temporary Act expires. Accordingly I introduced the present temporary measure, which continues the operation of the Firearms (Temporary Provisions) Act until the 31st July next. The 31st July is the end of the licensing year for firearm purposes. I hope it will be possible to have the permanent Bill passed through all its stages before that date. It was not intended to bring the permanent Bill into full force until the 1st August, which is the beginning of another licensing year, so that the passing of this Bill will not in any way delay the necessary provision of the law relating to firearms.

The temporary Act of 1924 has worked rather well up to the present. I do not think that any hardships have been caused by its operations, or that any serious objection can be urged to the proposal to continue it for a further period of four or five months up to 31st July. Meanwhile, I will have before the Dáil for consideration the permanent Bill governing the possession and use of firearms.

Question—"That the Bill be read a Second Time"—put and agreed to.
Committee Stage fixed for Tuesday, 24th March.

Notice was given of a question on the adjournment. That question will not be taken this evening, by arrangement between the Deputy and the Minister concerned.

The Dáil adjourned at 8 p.m. until Thursday, 19th March, at 3 p.m.