100. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce amendments to SI 646/2017 in view of the concerns of members of an association (details supplied) with the time lock aspect of this law and the effects on its members; if the association will be provided representation at the firearms consultative panel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10749/18]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): I wish to advise the Deputy that Statutory Instrument 646 of 2017, entitled Firearms (Storage of Firearms and Ammunition by Firearms Dealers) Regulations 2017, was recently signed into law by me and has recently been circulated to firearms dealers.
These Regulations give effect to minimum standards for the safe and secure storage of firearms and ammunition in the premises of firearms dealers. They recognise that firearms dealers are entitled to be in possession of large quantities of firearms but require them to conduct business from a premises that has been constructed to a high standard. The Regulations also recognise the different categories of firearms dealers and scales the requirements depending on the quantities of ammunition and firearms being stored. For example, the time lock requirement does not apply to those dealers who deal only in small quantities of ammunition.
The Regulations were developed following consultation with a sub-group of the Firearms Consultative Panel (FCP) consisting of registered firearms dealers. The inclusion of the requirement for time locks was originally suggested by this sub-group to act as a significant deterrent and discouragement to criminal attack. The Commissioner of An Garda Síochána has endorsed the security measures contained in this Regulation and has advised that the inclusion of a requirement for a time-lock on the strong room door will deter criminal activity and require the use of greater resources by any person attempting to access firearms or ammunition illegally. Similar security measures have been applied successfully elsewhere, e.g. in banks, pharmacies and the jewellery sector.
In order to minimise the financial impact, a lead-in time of twelve months for compliance has been included in the Regulation in order to permit dealers sufficient time to comply with the legislation.
I wish to advise the Deputy that I have no plans to amend these regulations which have been introduced as a public safety measure.
Finally, I am currently reviewing membership of the Firearms Consultative Panel and contact will be made in the near future with groups who have previously communicated with the Department on this matter.