Discrepancy between Garda areas a cause of frustration
THE DISCREPANCY from Garda area to Garda area as to what gun licences are granted has caused frustration among local gun club members.
One local shooting enthusiast, who asked not to be named for home security reasons, said the regulations have made things very difficult, and getting a licence 'depends on the Superintendent in the area'. He said one member of the club in Castlebridge had gotten a licence because he lives in another Garda district.
He said he has a number of friends who are waiting since last October to have a licence issued. ' They find it hard to get hold of their local Garda, and then it has to go to the main barracks,' he said.
Another member of the club said that there seem to be most problems in Wexford and Meath. ' There's meant to be an even playing field across the country,' he said. ' They seem to have gone back to the old system where it's at the discretion of the Superintendent.'
'I know of people waiting over a year for their licences and even renewals. A friend of mine one got his licences back last week, and he lost out on a season of deer stalking,' he added.
He said the legal challenges have proven costly for members.
He added that the application form is long and complicated, and though a photograph is supplied with the application, it is not included on the licence itself. 'If you had photo ID, it would be a much better idea,' he said.
The deadline for people holding firearms to switch over to the new licensing system was July 1 this year. Every new gun owner must also have a new firearm training certificate.
When the new Act was brought in last year, licensed gun holders were given a free extension with their existing licences to facilitate the changeover to the new system. Those who fail to swap over could have their firearms seized and face prosecution.