herald

Thursday 17 October 2019

Eight guns lost or stolen every week

CRIME: 71pc fear surge in violence

ALMOST 1,300 firearms, including shotguns and rifles, have been lost or stolen over the past four years.

Official figures obtained by the Herald show around 1,134 registered weapons, mainly shotguns and rifles, were stolen in the last four years.

Some 159 weapons were lost, most of which were shotguns, but also included in the list are 18 rifles and one airgun, which went missing last year.

Last year alone eight firearms were lost or stolen every week.

There are approximately 220,000 firearms certificates on issue in Ireland, the vast majority of which are for shotguns used for sport and hunting rifles. Each certificate qualifies its holder to possess a single, specified firearm, along with a prescribed type of ammunition.

This latest list comes as a recent survey shows almost three-quarters of Irish people think gun crime will escalate.

INCREASE

The Eurobarometer survey showed 71pc of the population expect an increase in gun violence in the next five years, compared to an average of 58pc across the continent.

But the poll also found that one in 10 gun owners in Ireland keep their firearm for personal protection.

However, more than a fifth of respondents believe gun crime in Ireland is "very high", while more than half of Irish people called for stricter gun control.

The survey also revealed that almost three quarters of the population want to see a European response to gun crime.

It shows that half a million registered guns which have been lost or stolen are unaccounted for.

Two methods being looked at by the Commission are specific "deactivation techniques"" to ensure firearms cannot be used once taken off the street, and marking guns with serial numbers when they are manufactured.

Gardai have seized an average of 900 illegally held guns a year in Ireland since 2005.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE

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