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Proposed Legislation

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 27 July 2021

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Questions (1385, 1388)

Martin Kenny

Question:

1385. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice when the proposed legislation on the restriction of licensing of centre fire semi-automatic rifles will be introduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40353/21]

View answer

Martin Kenny

Question:

1388. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Justice if she plans to allow existing licence holders retain their licence for centre fired semi-automatic rifles under the proposed new legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40356/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1385 and 1388 together.

As you may be aware, in 2015, the then Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., announced plans to implement a number of changes to Firearms Licensing, including restrictions on the licensing of any new centre-fire semi-automatic rifles. I am sure the Deputy will agree that these are potentially very dangerous weapons in the wrong hands.

This remains settled policy and it is my intention to legislate to introduce restrictions on the licensing of centre-fire semi-automatic rifles, including the revocation of licenses issued after 18 September 2015, as flagged at the time.

People who have obtained licences since the 2015 announcement have been advised the licences will be revoked when the legislative ban is introduced. Any licence issued after the announcement to introduce a curtailment on the licencing of these firearms will be revoked following the enactment of the legislation.

My Department has also engaged with Registered Firearms Dealers to monitor the number of these firearms imported and to advise the dealers that any firearms brought into the State that do not have a firearms license associated with them dated prior to 18 September 2015 will become unlicensable when the new legislation is introduced. As the Deputy may also be aware, a similar process applied when restrictions were introduced for the licensing of centre-fire handguns.

The proposed legislation referred to by the Deputy forms part of the General Scheme of a Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020. The General Scheme for this Bill was approved by Government in September 2020. It was referred to the Justice Committee for Pre – Legislative Scrutiny in January and I await the views of the Committee in due course. It is my intention to progress this General Scheme and to publish the required Bill at an early date, as other priorities in my Department’s legislative programme may allow.

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