Irish Shooting Politics

February 16, 2011

Kate Bopp (Ind, North Tipperary/South Offaly) policy on firearms

Filed under: Politics — Mark Dennehy @ 12:25 am

Initially, I wanted to get policy statements from Labour and Fine Gael because it seems most likely that the next Minister for Justice will be from one of those two parties and the Minister is one of the most influential factors in how firearms legislation reform progresses. With that done, I will now try to obtain the personal positions of as many candidates as I can. I began with Kate Bopp after some lobbying from Mr.Bopp 😀

Sent by email:


As an Olympic target shooter, I’d like to ask for details on your policies and plans with regards to the Firearms Act, the handgun ban and private firearms ownership in Ireland, and to invite you to engage with the target shooting and hunting community on to discuss these matters. With some 200,000 licenced firearms owners in the state, I think such engagement would be appropriate during the election campaign.
Some specific questions would include:

  • Have you plans to increase the current level of regulation or to roll back the current level in order to harmonise our regulations with other EU states?
  • Would you be willing to remove centerfire target pistols from the Restricted Firearms list, thus allowing them to be licenced again?
  • Would you be willing to deregulate target shooting airguns up to 7.5 Joules of muzzle energy as opposed to the current 1 Joule permitted under the Act in order to promote Olympic target shooting in Ireland?
  • Would you address the issues raised by medical associations regarding the application for a firearms licence and its implicit – but deemed insufficient by the GPs – granting of permission to Gardai to access medical records?
  • Would you be willing to widen the remit of the Firearms Consultation Panel, to make it a permanent body to facilitate access to technical expertise for the Department and to strengthen communications links between the target shooting sports governing bodies and the Department and the Gardai to ensure the smooth working of the Firearms Act?
  • What would you intend to do at a strategic level to alleviate the current problems with licencing which have resulted in nearly 200 cases being taken against Garda Superintendents in the District Courts at great expense to all?


Received in reply:

Thank you for your email. I gather that Evert asked you to email these questions.
Let me start by saying that I feel very strongly about the right to firearms ownership and that I disagree with the current legislation.
I will however admit that I am no au fait with every detail of the Wildlife Act, Wildlife Acts and other applicable legislation. But I am aware of the impact it is having and intend to campaign for changes to the legislation.
Let me get to your questions;

  • I intend to roll back some of the recent changes to the legislation. However as for harmonising regulations with other EU States I am not certain of your question as there is a significant difference in firearms legislation between for instance the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. I would very much strive for a system based on the premise that everyone should is allowed to own firearms unless a reason can be found why they shouldn’t. This is in contrast to the current system which starts from the assumption that nobody should be allowed to own any type of firearm unless they can provide an acceptable reason why they should. The system implemented in the Netherlands is a good example of one which I would favour.
  • Yes, absolutely.
  • Yes.
  • I would. Medical records should be considered as confidential information and should only be accessible to Gardai (or other government bodies) under very limited circumstances. The processing of firearms application is not sufficient reason.
  • Absolutely. A lot of issues in the current legislation and implementation of such is caused by sheer ignorance of the facts. Making the Firearms Consultation Panel a permanent body would combat this.
  • From my experience and (limited) research it is my impression that a lot of issues are caused by incoherent and impractical legislation and the arbitrary implementation of said legislation. A revision of the current legislation which takes the wishes of the shooting & hunting communities in consideration as well as putting less of an onus on the Garda Superintendents would quite likely prevent the need for such legal action.

I hope that this answers your questions but feel free to contact me directly if you have any further questions.

Regards, Kate Bopp.
Independent Candidate for North Tipperary / Offaly South


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