Firearms (Firearm Certificates For Non-Residents) Act, 2000

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Number 20 of 2000


FIREARMS (FIREARM CERTIFICATES FOR NON-RESIDENTS) ACT, 2000


ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Section

1.

Interpretation.

2.

Firearm certificates.

3.

Prohibition of false information and alteration of firearm certificates.

4.

Amendment of Act of 1976.

5.

Regulations.

6.

Laying of orders and regulations before Houses of Oireachtas.

7.

Repeals and transitional provision.

8.

Short title, collective citation, construction and commencement.


Acts Referred to

Firearms Act, 1925

1925, No. 17

Firearms Act, 1964

1964, No. 1

Firearms Acts, 1925 to 1998

Firearms (Proofing) Act, 1968

1968, No. 20

Wildlife Act, 1976

1976, No. 39

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Number 20 of 2000


FIREARMS (FIREARM CERTIFICATES FOR NON-RESIDENTS) ACT, 2000


AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR AMENDMENT OF THE PROVISIONS GOVERNING THE LIMITATIONS AND RESTRICTIONS FOR THE GRANTING OF FIREARM CERTIFICATES UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE FIREARMS ACT, 1925 , IN RESPECT OF PERSONS NOT ORDINARILY RESIDENT IN THE STATE AND THE GRANTING AND RENEWAL OF HUNTING LICENCES UNDER SECTION 29 OF THE WILDLIFE ACT, 1976 , AND TO PROVIDE FOR CONNECTED MATTERS. [5th July, 2000]

BE IT ENACTED BY THE OIREACHTAS AS FOLLOWS:

Interpretation.

1.—(1) In this Act, except when the context otherwise requires—

“the Act of 1976” means the Wildlife Act, 1976 ;

“firearm certificate” means a firearm certificate granted under section 2 ;

“hunting” means shooting with a firearm protected wild birds or protected wild animals within the meaning in each case of the Act of 1976;

“issuing person” shall be construed in accordance with section 2 ;

“the Minister” means the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform;

“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made by the Minister;

“the Principal Act” means the Firearms Act, 1925 ;

“sporting purposes” means the purposes of target shooting or clay pigeon shooting or shooting in a competition or event.

(2) In this Act—

(a) a reference to any enactment shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as a reference to that enactment as amended or extended by or under any subsequent enactment including this Act,

(b) a reference to a section is a reference to a section of this Act unless it is indicated that reference to some other enactment is intended,

(c) a reference to a subsection, paragraph or subparagraph is a reference to the subsection, paragraph or subparagraph of the provision in which the reference occurs unless it is indicated that reference to some other provision is intended.

Firearm certificates.

2.—(1) On application in that behalf in accordance with subsection (2) to the Minister or the appropriate Superintendent by a person not ordinarily resident in the State who is of or over the age of 16 years, the Minister or the Superintendent, as may be appropriate, shall, subject to the provisions of this section, grant to the person a firearm certificate authorising the person to—

(a) have in his or her possession, use and carry the particular firearm described in the certificate for the purpose specified in the certificate,

(b) purchase and use in such firearm during the currency of such certificate such quantity of ammunition for such firearm as shall be specified in the certificate, and

(c) have in his or her possession at any one time and carry so much ammunition as shall be specified in the certificate.

(2) An application referred to in subsection (1) shall be made—

(a) in case the firearm to which it relates is intended only for hunting or sporting purposes or for shooting species whose shooting is not proscribed by law—

(i) if the application is made not later than 2 years after the commencement of this section, to the Minister, and

(ii) if it is made later than 2 years after such commencement or if the Minister has made an order under subsection (3), to the appropriate Superintendent,

and

(b) in any other case, to the Minister.

(3) The Minister may, following consultation with the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, by order reduce the length of the period referred to in subparagraph (i) of subsection (2)(a) to such extent as he or she considers appropriate.

(4) An application to which paragraph (a) of subsection (2) relates for a firearm certificate under this section shall be in such form as may be prescribed or in a form to the like effect and shall be accompanied by the fee (if any) for the time being required by law.

(5) A person who applies to the Minister or a Superintendent of the Garda Síochána (referred to subsequently in this Act as “the issuing person”) for a firearm certificate under this section shall furnish to that person the information requested in the application form together with such further information as the issuing person may request for the purposes of his or her functions under this section and, if the person fails to comply with this subsection, the issuing person may refuse to grant the firearm certificate to the person.

(6) A firearm certificate granted to a person under this section shall continue in force until the 31st day of July next after the grant thereof, but a firearm certificate granted before the 31st day of July in any year may be expressed to commence on the next following 1st day of August and shall in that case be in force on and from such 1st day of August until the next following 31st day of July or such earlier date as may be specified in the certificate.

(7) The issuing person, before granting a firearm certificate to a person under this section, shall be of the opinion that the application is bona fide and that there is no good reason to refuse to grant the certificate.

(8) The issuing person may, for the purpose of establishing that there is no good reason to refuse to grant a firearm certificate, treat any of the following as prima facie evidence of suitability to so grant—

(a) in the case of a person who is resident in a Member State of the European Community other than the State, any European Firearms Pass duly issued to such person to which paragraphs (4) and (5) of Regulation 7 of the European Communities (Acquisition and Possession of Weapons and Ammunition) Regulations, 1993 ( S.I. No. 362 of 1993 ), relate, or

(b) in any other case, any other permit, licence, authorisation or other document duly issued by an appropriate authority or body outside the State which the issuing person considers acceptable.

(9) The issuing person may make such enquiries as he or she considers appropriate as to the suitability of any applicant for a firearm certificate under this section.

(10) The issuing person may attach such conditions, if any, as he or she considers necessary, to a firearm certificate granted to a person under this section.

(11) The issuing person shall not grant a firearm certificate to a person in respect of a firearm which is intended to be used for the purpose of hunting exempted wild mammals within the meaning of the Act of 1976 (other than hares) unless the issuing person is satisfied that the person is the holder of a current licence under section 29(1) of the Act of 1976.

(12) The Minister shall not grant a firearm certificate to a person in respect of a firearm which is intended to be used for the purpose of hunting protected wild birds within the meaning of the Act of 1976 or hares unless the Minister is satisfied that the person is the holder of a current licence under section 29(5)(b) of the Act of 1976.

(13) The issuing person may at any time revoke a firearm certificate granted to a person under this section if he or she is of the opinion that the holder of such certificate—

(a) is a person who cannot, without danger to the public safety or to the peace, be permitted to have a firearm in his or her possession,

(b) is using, or has used, such firearm for purposes not authorised by the certificate, or

(c) is a person who has contravened a condition attaching to the firearm certificate granted to him or her.

(14) Where a firearm certificate is revoked under this section, the issuing person shall, as soon as may be, notify the holder of the certificate in writing of the revocation and the notice shall direct the holder of the certificate to deliver forthwith the firearm described in the certificate and ammunition (if any) to the Superintendent of the Garda Síochána of the district in which he or she is residing at the time of the receipt of the notice and the provisions of section 6 of the Principal Act shall apply to the disposal of a firearm and ammunition delivered under this section as they apply to the disposal of a firearm and ammunition delivered under that section with any necessary modifications.

(15) References to a firearm certificate in sections 2, 10, 16, 22 and 23 of the Principal Act shall include references to a firearm certificate granted under this Act.

(16) References to a firearm certificate in sections 11 , 12 , 21 and 24 of the Firearms Act, 1964 , shall include references to a firearm certificate granted under this Act.

(17) In this section, “the appropriate Superintendent”, in relation to a firearm certificate, means the Superintendent of the Garda Síochána of the district in which the firearm will first be used by the person.

Prohibition of false information and alteration of firearm certificates.

3.—(1) A person shall not knowingly give false information to the issuing person in relation to an application for a firearm certificate.

(2) A person shall not forge a document purporting to be a firearm certificate, or use or knowingly have in his or her possession such document.

(3) A person shall not alter or use a firearm certificate, or use an altered certificate, with intent to deceive.

(4) A person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both.

Amendment of Act of 1976.

4.—The Act of 1976 is hereby amended by the substitution of the following section for section 29:

Licences to hunt with firearms.

29.—(1) Subject to section 75(1) of this Act, the Minister may, on application to the Minister in that behalf, if he or she thinks fit, and on payment of the prescribed fee (if any), grant to a person, who when making the application makes a declaration in a form approved of for the purposes of this section by the Minister, a licence (operating in the manner specified in subsection (4) of this section) to hunt and kill with firearms, subject to the restrictions contained in section 33 of this Act, and such conditions (if any) as the Minister may attach to the licence, exempted wild mammals (other than hares).

(2) In determining an application for a licence under subsection (1) or subsection (5)(b) of this section or a renewal under subsection (6) of this section, the Minister shall have regard to the conservation requirements of the species of protected wild birds or exempted wild mammals concerned.

(3) (a) Notwithstanding subsection (2) of this section, and subject to this subsection, the Minister, before granting a licence under subsection (1) or subsection (5)(b) or renewing a licence under subsection (6), shall be of the opinion that the application is bona fide and that there is no good reason to refuse to grant the licence or renew it.

(b) The Minister may, for the purpose of establishing that there is no good reason to refuse to grant or renew a licence under this section to a person ordinarily resident outside the State, treat any of the following as prima facie evidence of suitability to so grant or renew:

(i) in the case of a person resident in a Member State of the European Community other than the State, any European Firearms Pass duly issued to such person to which paragraphs (4) and (5) of Regulation 7 of the European Communities (Acquisition and Possession of Weapons and Ammunition) Regulations, 1993 ( S.I. No. 362 of 1993 ), relate, or

(ii) in any other case, any other permit, licence, authorisation or other document duly issued by an appropriate authority or body outside the State which the Minister considers acceptable.

(c) The Minister may make such enquiries as he or she considers appropriate as to the suitability of any applicant for a licence under this section.

(4) A licence granted or renewed by the Minister under this section shall remain in force for a period beginning on the day on which the licence is granted or renewed and ending on the next following 31st day of July and subject to its terms the licence shall operate to authorise the holder of the licence, for so long as the licence is in force, to hunt and kill with firearms any fauna to which the licence relates pursuant to and in accordance with such orders (if any) made under section 24 or 25 of this Act as are for the time being in force.

(5) (a) Where a person applies to a Superintendent of the Garda Síochána for the grant of a firearm certificate under section 3 of the Firearms Act, 1925 , or for the grant of a firearm certificate under section 2 of the Firearms (Firearm Certificates for Non-Residents) Act, 2000, or for the renewal under section 9 of the Firearms Act, 1964 , of a firearm certificate granted under the said section 3 and makes a declaration referred to in subsection (1) of this section, the certificate shall, if it is endorsed in the manner described in subsection (8) of this section, for the purposes of sections 22(4) and 23(5) of this Act be deemed to be a licence granted by the Minister under this section and, subject to section 75(1) and to the restrictions contained in section 33 of this Act, such certificate shall, for so long as it is in force, operate to authorise the person to whom it is granted, with the firearm to which the certificate relates—

(i) to hunt and kill pursuant to any order under section 24 of this Act which for the time being is in force any protected wild bird,

(ii) to hunt and kill pursuant to and in accordance with any order under section 25 of this Act which is so in force, any hare.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subsection, the Minister may, on application to him or her in that behalf, subject to section 75(1) of this Act, during the period referred to in subsection (2)(a)(i) of section 2 of the Firearms (Firearm Certificates for Non-Residents) Act, 2000, or that period as varied under that section, if the Minister thinks fit, grant to a person ordinarily resident outside the State, who when making the application makes a declaration referred to in subsection (1) of this section, a licence (operating in the manner specified in subsection (4) of this section) to hunt and kill with firearms, subject to the restrictions contained in section 33 of this Act, and such conditions (if any) as the Minister may attach to the licence, protected wild birds or hares to which an order under section 24 or section 25 of this Act for the time being applies.

(c) Paragraph (b) of this subsection shall expire at the end of the period referred to in subsection (2)(a)(i) of section 2 of the Firearms (Firearm Certificates for Non-Residents) Act, 2000, or that period as varied under that section.

(6) A licence granted by the Minister under this section (other than a licence deemed pursuant to subsection (5)(a) of this section to have been so granted) may, if the Minister thinks fit, be renewed by the Minister on the application of the holder of the licence who when making the application makes a declaration referred to in subsection (1) of this section.

(7) A person aggrieved by a refusal by the Minister to grant a licence under subsection (1) or subsection (5)(b) of this section or to renew a licence under subsection (6) of this section may appeal to a Judge of the District Court against the refusal, and in determining the appeal the Judge may—

(a) confirm the refusal, or

(b) allow the appeal, inform the Minister of his or her decision and direct the Minister as soon as may be to grant to the applicant or renew, as may be appropriate, a licence under this section.

(8) Where a firearm certificate is granted to a person described in subsection (5)(a) of this section, there shall be endorsed on the certificate the following:

`This certificate, for so long as it is in force, authorises the person to whom it is granted, with the firearm to which it relates—

(a) to hunt and kill pursuant to any order under section 24 of the Wildlife Act, 1976 , which is for the time being in force any protected wild bird within the meaning of that Act,

(b) to hunt and kill pursuant to and in accordance with any order under section 25 of the said Act which is so in force, any hare.'.

(9) Where any convention, protocol or other agreement between the State and any other country or territory provides for the reciprocal recognition of licences granted or deemed to have been granted under this section and other licences, permits, permissions or authorisations granted or issued in that country or territory, the Minister may by regulations declare and provide that any such other licence, permit, permission or authorisation which is for the time being in force shall be deemed to be, and shall have the same legal effect as a licence under this section.

(10) (a) The holder of a licence granted or renewed under this section or a firearm certificate endorsed in the manner described in subsection (8) of this section shall, if the Minister so requires either by a notice in writing sent to the holder or by a notice published for the purposes of this subsection in at least one daily newspaper published in the State, give to the Minister the following information, namely, a statement of the number and species of protected wild birds and the number and species of protected wild animals shot and taken by the holder during such period as the Minister specifies in the notice and either, as may be so specified, in any place in the State or in any place in a part of the State which is so specified.

(b) The Minister may by regulations require the holder of a licence granted or renewed under this section or of a firearm certificate endorsed in the manner described in subsection (8) of this section to tag or otherwise mark, in a manner and at a time specified, any animal or bird captured or killed under such a licence or certificate.

(11) A person who fails to comply with a requirement of the Minister under subsection (10) of this section shall be guilty of an offence.

(12) Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting anything contained in the Firearms Acts, 1925 to 2000.”.

Regulations.

5.—(1) The Minister may by regulations provide, subject to the provisions of this Act, for any matter referred to in this Act as prescribed or to be prescribed.

(2) Regulations under this Act may contain such incidental, supplementary and consequential provisions as appear to the Minister to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the regulations.

Laying of orders and regulations before Houses of Oireachtas.

6.—Every order or regulation under this Act shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the order or regulation is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which that House has sat after the order or regulation is laid before it, the order or regulation shall be annulled accordingly but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Repeals and transitional provision.

7.—(1) The following are hereby repealed:

(a) section 3(2) of the Principal Act, and

(b) section 10 of the Firearms Act, 1964 .

(2) Notwithstanding the repeal of section 3(2) of the Principal Act, a firearm certificate granted under that section shall continue in force as if granted under this Act until the day on which it is expressed to expire.

Short title, collective citation, construction and commencement.

8.—(1) This Act may be cited as the Firearms (Firearms Certificates for Non-Residents) Act, 2000.

(2) The Firearms Acts, 1925 to 1998 (other than the Firearms (Proofing) Act, 1968 ) and this Act (other than section 4 ) may be cited together as the Firearms Acts, 1925 to 2000, and shall be construed together as one.

(3) This Act shall come into operation on the 14th day of July, 2000.