Call for stricter gun control with over 19,000 firearms licenced in Cork

Call for stricter gun control with over 19,000 firearms licenced in Cork

Six people have died in two firearms incidents in Cork and Kerry since last October.

IF there are any concerns about a person who has a licence for a gun, that gun should be removed.

That is according to Fine Gael Cork North Central TD Colm Burke, who raised the issue of gun licences at this week’s meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee.

He said six people have died in two firearms incidents in Cork and Kerry since last October.

And he added: “We have had huge challenges in the Covid period.” 

He told The Echo: “The use of a gun is just ten seconds and can be the difference of someone being alive or dead. Where there is any worry at all about an individual who has a licence for a gun, gardaí should not hesitate to have it removed.” 

Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin told this week's meeting of the JPC that there are very strict conditions for the granting of a gun licence. 

And he said: “If there are any issues at all, that gun is taken into custody. Firearms are lethal weapons.” 

The Echo revealed last November that there were there are 19,402 firearms licenced in Cork – with Cork West accounting for the highest number of licenced firearms.

Garda sources point out that the highest number of licenced firearms is in rural areas because of being used on farms, and also being used for hunting.

They also indicated that a small number of such weapons have been seized in the past year in situations of domestic abuse, or where there were disputes between people.

Firearms licences are renewed every three years.

On the first application for a licence, an applicant is interviewed by gardaí and his or her background is checked. A form must be filled in with medical information, character references, past criminal history check, and competence in relation to firearms.

To grant a licence, a garda superintendent must be satisfied that the applicant is not a danger to the public safety or peace; has a secure gun safe for storage of the weapon, and has a “good and sufficient reason” for owning a firearm.

A subsequent application for a firearms licence can be rejected if a person is deemed to have a criminal record that would make possession of a firearm dangerous for public safety.

In recent years, legally held firearms have been used in crimes as well as in suicides.

There have also been situations where legally held weapons have been stolen and used in crimes.

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