Monday, December 1, 2008

Ireland seeks to ban handguns

From the Emerald Isle:
The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D. today outlined his proposals to ban licensed handguns. The issue was raised some weeks back by Waterford Fine Gael Deputy, John Deasy who highlighted the huge increase in handguns legally held in Ireland over the past number of years. He pointed to the inconsistency in the numbers of handguns across various Garda divisions throughout the country. [emphasis added]

The Minister said the handgun ban would be included in legislation currently being prepared which will be published shortly.

Minister Ahern said: "Since being appointed, I have made clear my growing concern at the number and type of handguns being licensed.

"From the early 1970s, in the light of the Troubles, until 2004, all handguns were banned in this jurisdiction. But following a series of judicial decisions that is no longer the case and about 1800 handguns have been licensed. There was no public policy decision to bring about this situation.

"I am mindful of comments made by Mr. Justice Charleton in his judgement in a recent firearms case that a reasonable person is entitled to feel alarmed at the proliferation of handguns. My concern is that unless strong and decisive action is taken the number of handguns could grow exponentially and our firearms regime would equate to that of countries such as the United States. Today we have 1800 legal handguns – in three years time that number could exceed 4,000 and rising. [emphasis added]

"This is completely unacceptable. While I know the vast majority of licensed gun owners behave responsibly, my paramount concern must be the protection of the public, particularly against the background of the level of gun crime which is taking place."

Article here. Yet another reminder that guns in the hands of ordinary folks frighten those in power. Of course, no word on how the government plans to ban unlicensed handguns. You know, the ones violent criminals use.

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