I move amendment No. 1:
In page 4, line 11, before "a crossbow" to insert "a longbow or".
On Committee Stage, a similar amendment was defeated by the Government. Since that time a number of months have elapsed and the serious flaw in this legislation by not including the longbow has been brought to light. The Minister rightly intends outlawing the crossbow but I fail to see how we can allow this legislation to pass leaving a glaring loophole by omitting the longbow. However, there are two types of longbow, the compound longbow which is a lethal weapon, and the American tracker longbow. My main fear is that with the outlawing of the crossbow it will be substituted by the longbow. This fear has been expressed by a number of parties interested in the fight against crime. It has also been highlighted by people involved in retailing these weapons. I fail to see how we can allow this legislation through and not include this simple amendment.
We are encouraging criminals who are using the crossbow to use the longbow and the Minister's intention will have been drawn to an incident involving a member of the Garda Síochána and a crossbow, something that took place between Committee Stage and Report Stage. Following that incident much publicity was given to the fact that people who formerly used crossbows would look to the longbow.
My amendment is a simple one. I fail to see why the Minister did not take the matter on board on Committee Stage. We are giving the criminals and hoodlums in our society an opportunity to turn parts of our streets into Apache territory by allowing the use of this longbow, a Robin Hood-type weapon that can be sold over the counter for £100 or less. This danger can be obviated by allowing the simple amendment in the names of Deputy O'Keeffe and myself. Otherwise I ask the Minister when he considers it necessary to allow free access to and the free use of the longbow? I cannot think of any reason, other than archery competitions, why the longbow can be used. If it is brought under the legislation, licences in the form of a firearms certificate will issue in the same way as for a crossbow. We are doing a disservice by allowing the legislation to proceed without including provision for the longbow. The longbow can be used very quickly. It is easily primed for action and can be used as proficiently as a crossbow. It is a highly dangerous implement. To allow it to be lawfully used on our streets is to foster crime on the streets in many parts of our cities.