Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ceisteanna (230)

Clare Daly


230. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the level of consultation undertaken to satisfy himself regarding the effectiveness of SI 646 regarding the storage of firearms; if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed by responsible dealers in relation to unintended consequences from this measure and if he is willing to postpone implementation pending meeting the groups concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11680/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that Statutory Instrument 646 of 2017, entitled Firearms (Storage of Firearms and Ammunition by Firearms Dealers) Regulations 2017, was recently signed into law by me and has recently been circulated to firearms dealers.

These Regulations give effect to minimum standards for the safe and secure storage of firearms and ammunition in the premises of firearms dealers. They recognise that firearms dealers are entitled to be in possession of large quantities of firearms but require them to conduct business from a premises that has been constructed to a high standard. The Regulations also recognise the different categories of firearms dealers and scales the requirements depending on the quantities of ammunition and firearms being stored. For example, a time lock requirement does not apply to those dealers who deal only in small quantities of ammunition.

The Regulations were developed following consultation with a sub-group of the Firearms Consultative Panel (FCP) consisting of registered firearms dealers as well as An Garda Síochána.

Concerns have been raised by some firearms dealers, particularly in relation to the time lock requirement.   The inclusion of the requirement for time locks was originally suggested by the above mentioned sub-group to act as a significant deterrent and discouragement to criminal attack. The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána has endorsed the security measures contained in this Regulation and has advised that the inclusion of a requirement for a time-lock on the strong room door will deter criminal activity and require the use of greater resources by any person attempting to access firearms or ammunition illegally.  Similar security measures have been applied successfully elsewhere, e.g. in banks, pharmacies and the jewellery sector.     

In order to minimise the financial impact, a lead-in time of twelve months for compliance has been included in the Regulation in order to permit dealers sufficient time to comply with the legislation. 

I have no plans to amend or postpone these regulations which have been introduced as a public safety measure.