Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (500)

Michael Lowry

Question:

500. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the process for the regulation of shooting ranges here; if the concerns of members of the public are taken into consideration when examining an application for a licence for same; if there is a public consultation; if there is an appeals process; if there is a required distance between the proposed shooting range and homes, farms and schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4970/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The process by which a target shooting range is authorised for use is a two stage process which involves the Firearms Range Inspector within the Department of Justice and Equality and the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána. The Firearms Range Inspector must first certify that the range complies with the relevant legislation. Statutory Instrument No. 622 of 2011 Firearms (Authorisation of Rifle or Pistol Shooting Ranges) Regulations 2011 was introduced in 2011 following a study of best international practice for target shooting range construction. The instrument specifies the minimum standards for the design, construction and maintenance of target shooting ranges. (It does not apply to either clay pigeon shooting ranges or to hunting).

These regulations require the range owner to demonstrate:

(a) that the facility is built and maintained in accordance with best international practice;

(b) that rules for the management and operation of the range are in place that promote the safety of the general public, spectators and participants in activities taking place at the range;

(c) that shooting is carried out under the direct supervision of appropriately qualified personnel;

(d) that all projectiles discharged on the range come to rest within the confines of the range; and

(e) appropriate records are maintained regarding the running of the facility.

The certification process must be completed before an authorisation for the use of the range may be granted by the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána. Planning permission and related matters are the function of the local authority in whose area a shooting range is located.