Green Party calls for review of gun laws in Ireland following Christchurch shootings
“When a 14-year-old can legally possess a gun, there’s something wrong.”
Green Party Senator and MEP candidate Grace O’Sullivan has called for an urgent review of gun laws in Ireland following the tragic shootings in New Zealand last week.
In the wake of the tragedy that unfolded in Christchurch last Friday, in which 50 people were killed, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that all military-style semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines will be banned in the country.
It is hoped that the new laws would be in place as soon as 11 April.
Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan has called for an urgent review of firearms licensing regulations in Ireland, pointing out that 14-year-olds are currently allowed to obtain a training certificate with parental consent and that gun license applicants are not required to provide medical reports or undertake psychiatric evaluations as part of the application process.
“There needs to be an urgent review of gun regulations here,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.
“When a 14-year-old can legally possess a gun, there’s something wrong. I’m asking my party colleagues in the Dáil to question the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan on whether he has plans to review firearms licensing regulations in light of the recent tragedy in New Zealand, particularly in relation to the current rules around children and guns.
“As it stands, a 14-year-old can, with parental consent, obtain a ‘Training Certificate’ and use a gun for hunting and target practice. They must be supervised by the over-18-year-old gun owner in possession of the licence for the gun they are using but the regulations around adults obtaining gun licences and certificates are also, in my belief, too lax.
“I would like to see the Minister order an urgent examination of the fact that gun license applicants are currently not required to provide medical reports or undertake any psychiatric evaluation as part of the standard application process,” O’Sullivan added.
“They are only required to supply their doctor’s contact details which is, in my view, wholly inadequate.
“I would also ask the Minister to review the regulations which currently put no limit on the number of permissible firearms an individual can amass.”
Although Ireland is considered to have some of the least permissive firearm legislation in Europe and is at the lower end of the scale by international standards when it comes to numbers of weapons held per head of population, O’Sullivan says that Ireland can’t afford to be “complacent” about the issue.
“We can’t be complacent about this,” O’Sullivan said.
“Like the people of New Zealand prior to last Friday, we might think nothing like that could happen here. Ireland is generally a very safe place. Likewise, New Zealand.
“Sadly, I was directly involved in a previous terrorist attack in New Zealand when I was a crew member of the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, when it was bombed in 1985. I lost my crewmate and friend, Fernando Pereira, that day. So, I’m not a bit complacent about this issue.
“A tightening of gun regulations could prevent a tragedy on our own shores.”