Thursday, 3 October 2019

Questions (102)

Seán Fleming

Question:

102. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the new regulations that have been introduced in relation to the safeguarding of ammunition in respect of shotguns and the requirement for them to be kept in a locked box in vehicles when they are not on the property of the owner; the consultation and the organisations that were involved in the discussions prior to these rules or regulations being introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40197/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may be aware, Statutory Instrument 420 of 2019 European Communities (Acquisition and Possession of Weapons and Ammunition) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 gives effect to Directive (EU) 2017/853 in national law.

The main changes introduced relate to:

- marking of firearms;

- new storage requirements for firearms and ammunition;

- prohibition of the acquisition of large capacity magazines; and

- prohibition of certain firearms.

There was some consultation as part of the process of making this SI.  All registered firearms dealers were invited to an initial consultation meeting with officials of my Department in Mullingar in August 2018, at which the new EU Directive was discussed.  I understand that over 250 invitations were issued to that consultation and that 51 firearms dealers attended. 

It may be noted that there was significant time pressure for production of this Statutory Instrument, due to infringement proceedings commenced against Ireland by the European Commission.  As such it was unfortunately not possible to organise a further consultation in advance of the making of the Statutory Instrument, between completion of the drafting process in July 2019 and signature of the regulations in August 2019.

I understand that the Statutory Instrument has now been circulated to members of the Firearms Consultative Panel and Registered Firearms Dealers and it has also been published on my Department's website, along with a guidance note.

Finally, I can confirm to the Deputy that my officials recently met with representatives of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), to allow them to outline any concerns.  I have asked my officials to consider the matters raised and to consult with the Office of the Attorney General, where relevant. The NARGC has also been advised to contact An Garda Síochána for clarification on their guidelines on the Statutory Instrument.