Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Department of Justice and Equality
Control of Firearms
312. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the system in place to test unproofed guns imported into the market here; the quality control process in place here when it comes to the import of guns into Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9997/15]
342. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Firearms (Proofing) Act 1968 makes provision for a proof house to test unproofed guns for non-military use imported into the Irish market, including guns for retail; if a proof house is required to ensure the proper testing of unproofed guns for non-military use, if one does not exist to ensure they are made to a standard and that they are safe to enter the public domain; the way guns imported into this country, are currently proofed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10469/15]
343. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality her views that there are sufficient quality controls in place to safeguard against sub-quality standards of guns for non-military use being imported into the market here, including guns for retail; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10470/15]
344. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the Republic of Ireland becoming a member of the Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'épreuve des armes à feu portatives CIP, an international organisation created by way of an international agreement, established on 15 July 1914, modified 1969 (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10471/15]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 312 and 342 to 344, inclusive, together.
The Firearms (Proofing) Act 1968 was introduced by the then Department of Industry and Commerce (now the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI), to set up a proof house specifically for shotguns manufactured by an indigenous firearms company that was being part-funded by State Aid. I understand the gun company subsequently went into liquidation and the proof house at the Institute for Industrial Research Standards (IIRS) - the predecessor to the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) - ceased to function at the same time.
Firearms proofing is a safety matter with regard to the production and use of a firearm and is normally carried out at the point of manufacture. To establish a proof house in Ireland is a matter ultimately for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Such a measure would only be viable if there was a domestic manufacturer of firearms.
Many firearms imported into Ireland come from the 14 countries which are members of the Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'épreuve des armes à feu portatives (CIP). This means the firearms produced in those countries have a CIP proof mark, which essentially relates to a common standard for mutual recognition of proof marks. Countries such as America and Canada are not members of CIP and their manufacturers test and proof mark their firearms according to their own standards. Firearms from these non CIP countries are imported into Ireland. Responsibility concerning product safety of firearms is a matter for manufacturers, the individual consumer and the firearms dealer who imports firearms. Many EU countries, including Ireland, do not have domestic firearms production, and are not members of the CIP. In the absence of sector specific EU legislation on the product safety of firearms, the product and consumer safety issues relating to firearms fall under the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC of the European Commission. The responsibility for the implementation of this Directive (including related market surveillance and enforcement issues) rests with my colleague, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.