Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Firearm Licences.

34.

asked the Minister for Justice if he will state in respect of each of the years 1969, 1970 and 1971 the number of firearm licences issued in the State; and if he will indicate the reasons for the differences in such numbers over the period.

The figures for the years ended 30th June, 1969, and 30th June, 1970, are 108,059 and 110,063 respectively. Figures for 1971 are not yet available.

The Garda are not able to attribute the increase to any particular cause— it is, in any event, very slight. Each application is, of course, treated on its merits and the Garda have to satisfy themselves that the applicant has a good reason for wanting to possess the particular firearm and that he can be permitted to have it in his possession without danger to the public safety or to the peace.

35.

asked the Minister for Justice if he will introduce legislation whereby any person seeking renewal of a firearm certificate will be compelled to produce the firearm concerned for inspection at the time of renewal of the certificate.

If the Garda at any time suspect that a particular firearm should be subject to a check they can so arrange. An inspection once a year of all firearms would be time consuming and would not, in the opinion of the Garda Síochána, be justified.

Might I suggest——

The Deputy may put a question.

——that if he were to make an order that firearms be presented when the renewal of certificates or new certificates are sought it would not put any great inconvenience on either the Garda or the applicants and it would eliminate all this suspicion?

The Garda advised me that that would not be feasible. As the Deputy will realise, the same weapon could be produced in respect of ten different certificates.

Deputies

Not at all.

Furthermore, it could be produced at a particular date, disposed of elsewhere and brought back 12 months later.

The Minister is altogether wrong. There is an identification number on every firearm.

Not on all of them.