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Irish Gun Owners Legal Victories

It seems like there is a constant stream of bad news hitting gun owners in Ireland at the moment, so we thought it would be a good idea to document cases where gun owners have won against the state despite the states best efforts to confiscate privately owned firearms. Hopefully this will help raise moral among gun owners that not all is lost and that with a bit of effort and unity from the shooting community we can stop the Government from destroying our sport. The cases are ordered from earliest to latest so that people can see how things have progressed.

If we all come together and fight for each others sport, even if it doesn’t directly affect you now, then we will be better off. If you don’t have a semi-auto rifle, help fight for the shooters that do. Same if you don’t have a shotgun, fight for the ones that do. Otherwise our sport is facing a death of a thousand cuts until nothing is left.

We would welcome any other stories people have links to. Please contact us on info@firearmsunited.ie

Have gun will travel . . . top marksman wins showdown

May 5th 2004

A CHAMPION marksman yesterday won his legal bid to compete internationally with a gun outlawed by gardai.

The High Court yesterday quashed a decision made by Garda Superintendent Liam McCahey of Blackrock Garda Station who refused a firearms certificate to Nicholas Flood (38) from Blackrock.

The effect of the ban meant Mr Flood, an Irish and European champion, lost out on taking part in three major international competitions.

The outcome of yesterday’s decision means Mr Flood has secured the right to compete internationally using a .308 calibre rifle, which has been outlawed here for the last 30 years for civilian shooters. And the decision may also pave the way for other marksmen to apply to the gardai for the right to own a .308, regarded as the world standard in shooting championships.

After yesterday’s High Court hearing, the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), said it deplored the fact the Garda Siochana had “in real terms wasted a full career year of one of Ireland’s premier sportsmen”.

A NARGC spokesman said: “Nicholas Flood is already the Irish National Champion and three times European Silhouette Champion. As recently as April 2004, he achieved third place in the World Championships. If the State caused the same interruption to the careers of other Irish sports people of international repute such as Sonia O’Sullivan, there would be public outrage.”

Sources: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/have-gun-will-travel-top-marksman-wins-showdown-25913097.html

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/refusal-to-grant-firearms-permit-is-quashed-1.1147174

Retired man blazes trail for gun users

August 1st 2004

DON LAVERY A RETIRED newspaper marketing executive who goes on safari to Africa became the first man in 32 years in the Republic to be given a firearms certificate for a pistol last week, after a historic High Court judgement.

Frank Brophy of Curracloe, Co Wexford, was given the firearms certificate by local gardai after the High Court quashed the refusal of a Garda superintendent to grant a certificate for a .22 calibre Vostok Toz pistol.

For over 30 years, shooting enthusiasts in the Republic have not been allowed to own pistols, or rifles over a certain calibre, after the Government confiscated thousands of guns because of the outbreak of the Troubles.

The Government’s fear was that the guns would end up in the hands of terrorists.

Some enthusiasts like Mr Brophy had to go to Wales or France to use pistols for target shooting because of the Government move.

Other enthusiasts havehad to keep high calibre pistols or rifles in countries as far away as Australia to allow them to pursue their sport and hobby.

But Mr Brophy, who enjoys target and game shooting at a competitive and recreational level, took action in the High Court challenging thedecision of a local garda superintendent to grant the firearms licence.

The way now appears to be open for enthusiasts to apply for firearms certificates for guns of any calibre, as long as they can satisfy the gardasuperintendent in question as to what purpose they needit for, such as target orgame shooting.

Mr Brophy, meanwhile, has another similar High Court case pending, this time in relation to a high calibre.375 rifle.

That case is expected to be heard in October.

Source: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/retired-man-blazes-trail-for-gun-users-26223148.html

Court overturns handgun licence refusal

February 12th 2010

A Garda chief superintendent, whose refusal to grant a certificate for six powerful handguns to a father and son for target shooting, was overturned at Killorglin District Court yesterday, said there were far too many powerful high-calibre handguns in the State.

Chief Supt Kerin said that, in his opinion, “500 [high-calibre handguns] is far too many in a country like Ireland. There should be no guns of this type in the hands of civilians. I don’t believe target shooting is a good and sufficient reason.”

After nearly three hours of evidence, the judge said he was satisfied that the applicants wanted them for sporting competition. He was satisfied they were as well trained as any military personnel to use the weapons.

Judge O’Connor granted the appeal.

Sources: https://www.irishtimes.com/news/court-overturns-handgun-licence-refusal-1.620774

https://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/news/duo-allowed-to-keep-guns-despite-concerns-of-gardai-27391507.html

Calls for probe after top garda altered gun licence forms

January 24th 2012

PRESSURE is mounting on the Government to launch an inquiry after one of the country’s most senior gardai admitted altering application forms for firearms licences.

The alterations by Crumlin Chief Superintendent John Manley, described last week as “disturbing” by a High Court judge, took place after legal action was brought by almost 200 shooting enthusiasts who were refused firearms licences.

Another senior Garda responsible for issuing gun licences has admitted, in a series of test cases brought by three sports enthusiasts, that he failed to complete mandatory sections on statutory application forms.

Source: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/calls-for-probe-after-top-garda-altered-gun-licence-forms-26814213.html

A LIMERICK judge says legislation governing firearm applications has not “bitten the bullet”.

August 11th 2013

Judge Eugene O’Kelly was speaking during a lengthy district court sitting for a number of firearm application appeals.
The owners of guns, including two semi-automatic rifles and two 9mm pistols, appealed the decision by Chief Superintendent David Sheahan not to grant them firearm certificates. All four won their appeals with costs awarded.

The owners of guns, including two semi-automatic rifles and two 9mm pistols, appealed the decision by Chief Superintendent David Sheahan not to grant them firearm certificates.

Source: https://www.limerickleader.ie/news/local-news/89184/Legislation-governing-guns-has-not-.html

Read about what happened on Boards in these two threads from the guys themselves that won these cases:

After much thought and assessment of my circumstances I had decided to write this post earlier in the year but considering the matter was due to be before the Courts I decided to wait until the appeals were heard. I have decided so because just over 3 years ago I like many others was refused licenses for 2 restricted pistols. At that time I posted on this forum my dismay and frustration.

Quiet a number of guys reached out to me and a few have become some of my good friends. So I owe it to all of you to let you know what’s happening so you may be prepared. I believe you should all know what’s happening. I have offered fact and no opinion and there is nothing confidential in this.

Read more here: https://www.boards.ie/discussion/2057002990/limerick-district-court-appeal-success-again/p1

Five restricted firearms appeals. Five appeals GRANTED. COSTS AWARDED!! Costs of Appx 30 thousand euros against AGS Limerick Henry St division! Possible Retro cost due in another case from May 2014.

Five cases were fought ,four center fire handguns and one CF semi rifle.

These were up in front of a rather pedantic and difficult replacement judge[at the last minute] yet all were granted courtesy of an excellent legal team of mine and the NARGC solicitor William Egan.

The state fought two of these cases like Apaches with no holds barred onslaught that went into utter minute of the applicants applications, good reasons and range membership and type of firearms.

Read more here: https://www.boards.ie/discussion/2057306036/limerick-dc-victories-plus-costs/p1

Firearms legislation must change to support Garda vetting

December 5th 2013

FIREARMS legislation must change if civilian versions of military type weapons are to be outlawed, a judge has said.

Limerick District Court Judge Eugene O’Kelly made his comments at an appeal hearing for two Limerick men challenging the decision of the Divisional Chief Superintendent to refuse them both gun licences for civilian sports versions of semi automatic assault rifles.

Having originally held a licence for a Heckler and Koch .223 semi automatic rifle in 2007, the Limerick man sought renewal for his weapon over the following five years but failed to get his application granted.

The second County Limerick man before the court had sought a first time application for a similar grade weapon and this had been refused by Limerick’s most senior garda.

Five grounds for the refusal were outlined by Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan in his evidence where he specified that it was garda contention that the weapon in question was a German manufactured military style weapon; it was an assault rifle; there was no requirement for a gun of this calibre by the applicant; the magazine could hold ten rounds and finally there was a public safety concern to the proliferation of such a firearm.

The court was told however, that both men came before the court with impeccable characters, had Irish military level experience with firearms and had made extensive provisions at their homes for the safe keep of the weapons. Details of how the weapons would be transported to the firing range were also outlined.

In his judgement to allow the appeals of both men seeking licences for the high-powered guns, Judge O’Kelly said that the issue was the “legislation and not the men. It is the legislation that does not give much assistance. It has not got to the kernel of the issue.”

Judge O’Kelly said that Chief Superintendent made “a bona fide refusal of the firearms application based on the information he had.

“However, it is the responsibility of the legislator if the law is to either outlaw or allow civilian versions of military style weapons”, he concluded.

Both applicants were granted their gun licences but the court was told that neither were entitled to their legal costs for counsel representation.

Source: https://www.limerickpost.ie/2013/12/05/firearms-legislation-must-change-to-support-garda-vetting/

Garda challenges refusal to allow him import firearms accessory

28th July 2022

A Garda who is also a member of two gun clubs has brought a High Court challenge against the Revenue Commissioners’ refusal to allow him import what he claims is a firearms accessory into the State.

The challenge has been brought by Garda Michael Rochford, stationed in the Dundalk District, who has been involved in field sports for many years, and a committee member of two gun clubs.

He is the lawful holder of several firearms, including .243 caliber Savage Axis II rifle. He claims the rifle comes with a stock that is prone to damage and scrapes due to it being made from a poor quality material.

At all times he believed he did not need a licence to import the items, as they are not components in connection with the working of a gun, and do not alter the the function of a firearm.

He also claims that when seizing the items Revenue failed to apply the correct statutory provision and has acted outside of its powers, and is now concerned that the items may be destroyed.

He claims he sought clarification from the Department of Justice Firearms Section, which informed him the items in question can be imported without a licence.

However in a subsequent conversation with an official with Revenue about the items he was informed that the official in the Department had since changed his view on the matter.

In his action against the Office of the Revenue Commissioners Mr Rochford seeks various orders including ones quashing the notices of seizure sent to him in relation to the goods.

He also seeks various declarations including that the defendant has erred in law by concluding that the items were liable to be forfeited on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the 1925 Firearms Act.

He further seeks a declaration the said items do not constitute a component part of a gun as set out in the 1925 Act and the 2017 EU Directive on the acquisition and possession of weapons.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan, who on an ex-parte basis, granted the applicant permission to bring his judicial review challenge against Revenue.

The matter was adjourned to a date in October.

Source: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40023698.html

I could not find any follow up of this in the media. But there is an update from the man himself on boards of his success in the high court.

Go to post 170: https://www.boards.ie/discussion/2058100210/new-rules-from-revenue/p6

Thanks to all the members here who got in touch and offered some great advice and proper expert opinion, it was greatly appreciated.

Judicial Review –Re: (Applicant) Michael Rochford -v – (Respondent)The Revenue Commissioners & (Notice Party) The Minister for Justice & Equality

Order made before Court on 19th January 2021 in the High Courts for Judicial Review before Mr. Justice Charles Meenan.

The following order was read into court by Siobhan Phelan SC, barrister for applicant

The Respondent and Notice Party made no objection to the making of an order in the following terms:

(i) Quashing the Notice of Seizure dated the 1st April 2020 on the grounds that no importation license was required for the goods, specifically (a) 2 Empty Magazine Cartridges for TAC21, (b) 1 Buttpad Spacer Kit (c) 1 ORYX Chassis System (hereafter “the goods”) because the goods did not constitute component parts within the meaning of the Firearms Acts and the regulations made thereunder;
(ii) That the Revenue Commissioners shall pay the costs of Mr. Rochford, to include a certificate for Senior Counsel, such costs to be adjudicated in default of agreement; and
(iii) That the Revenue Commissioners shall deliver the goods to Mr. Rochford.

[As a serving Garda I will not be referring to any dealings or departments within An Garda Siochana relating to this case, as under Garda Code Regulations I cannot be seen to bring the job into disrepute.]

Details of case: After ordering the above items (rifle stock/chassis, spacer kit, 2 Magazines) at the end of March 2020 from Oryx Chassis Company (subsidiary of MDT) based in Canada I tracked items to Dublin Postal Hub. After contacting them I was then notified by Revenue that they had seized my items and issued me a seizure notice calming that the items were firearm components as defined by the Firearms Act Section 1(1)(g)(iii) as amended by Section 26 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 which states that any object (i)manufactured for the use as a component in connection with the operation of a firearm and (ii)without which it could not function as originally designed, is a firearm.

I immediately lodged a Notice of Claim along with a copy of my valid firearm licence attached. After this I continued to make inquiries to the Respondent about the status of my notice of claim throughout the month of April, however I failed to obtain any update. Finally, on the 29th April 2020 I was contacted by the Revenue Officer in charge of this matter and he advised me that he would investigate the matter thoroughly, however that he had two reports regarding the Oryx chassis and that he believed that I would not be getting the items back.

I outlined to him a number of sections of the Firearms Act, the EU directives and statutory instruments relating to my claim. All of which would have drawn this matter to a close should they have been dealt with correctly by Revenue. During April I also sought clarification from the Department of Justice Firearms Section. I was advised by one of their staff that a rifle stock does not alter the function of the firearm or otherwise change the category of the firearm, therefore it is not considered to be an essential component part of a firearm and may be imported without an import license. In May 2020 this was again confirmed by the Dept of Justice staff member and the list of essential components were given as per SI 420/2019 (which I had already supplied to Revenue), none of the items I had purchased were listed on this Statutory Instrument. In mid-May I was informed by the officer from Revenue that he was 90% sure of his verdict which would not be in my favour. I was also advised that the staff from the Dept of Justice had since changed his view on the matter.

On the 9th June 2020 I received a letter of decision setting out that my goods namely two empty magazine cartridges for TAC21, 1 buttpad spacer kit and one oryx chassis system were seized on the 1stApril 2020 on the basis that they were imported into the State in contravention of Section 1, Firearms Act 1925 as amended. When I requested to see the correspondence from the Dept of Justice and other state bodies involved in the decision making process which had brought him to his conclusion I was informed that I would only be supplied them in the event I challenged their decision before a court.

My three items as sought to be imported represent features which affect the appearance of my firearm but are not necessary to its functioning. My firearm is complete and functioning without any of these new items and as such under the firearms act they cannot be classified to be component parts, only accessories.

As I had now been accused of importing firearm components without an importation license which is an indictable criminal offence, and also that Revenue were refusing to allow me access to documentation for me to make any defence of their claims under the customs act I was forced into a position where I had to take a Judicial Review to the High Court in order to not only have my goods returned, but also and more importantly, to vindicate my name of any wrong doing or criminality as I was acutely aware that breaches of the Customs Act are liable to criminal prosecution. As a long standing law enforcement officer for almost 17 years and a person who guards his reputation dearly, this was a terrible position to find myself cast into due to incorrect decision making from state departments.

Through my solicitor Mr. William Egan every attempt has been made to remedy these matters without the time and expense of such a lengthy court proceedings, however the Respondent made no attempt to help in this matter and treated all correspondence with a tone of disregard for their actions on a wronged citizen and a manner of trying to strong arm me into settling this case without being able to rectify the error in their decision making process and also without the possibility of vindicating my good character and reputation.

The purpose of a Judicial Review is a way for the High Court to supervise the lower courts, tribunals and other administrative bodies to ensure that they make their decisions properly and in accordance with the law. It is not a civil proceedings or personal injury case where financial damages are sought, or criminal case so the proceedings were solely to prove that I had been correct and lawful in my actions.

Thankfully due to the expert legal work of Siobhan Phelan SC, Miranda Egan-Langley BL I have been successful in receiving a court order resolving all matters. I thank both Siobhan and Miranda for all their effort in this case. I must also wholeheartedly thank my solicitor Mr. William Egan, who at every point of this case was available to speak to me and throughout all proceedings he was available to give his expert views and advice be it weekends, evenings or mornings and I will always be grateful for this help. At all junction s of this case he was on the same page and views as myself regarding the correct legal interpretations of the firearms act, this sentiment is also to Williams Office Manager, Breda Whelan, who worked tirelessly and was in constant communication with me and all the other members of the legal team representing me and without them I would not have been successful in this application.

Finally I wish to say that as a person who has worked for the state almost two decades I am saddened to think that this is the process that someone must go through in order to vindicate their good name, when these matters could have been resolved by simply reading the legislation and listening to the views of the other party involved. I made every attempt to keep these matters from going to a High Court case but to no avail. I have had 9 months of tremendous stress and anxiety placed upon myself and my family in fear of losing both my job and possibly my liberty if criminally prosecuted. Also the burden of the spiralling legal fees that it takes in order to take a High Court challenge to a full conclusion hanging over me have caused me untold stress. As a member of An Garda Siochana it is never a situation to want to find yourself taking legal action against other state departments and I can only hope that this will not have affected my career going forward.

Thankfully this Judicial Review matter is now concluded and I hope the legal precedent it will set regarding these items, not being components, may help others who are forced into the same situation.

Kindest Regards

Cork man with self-harming history wins appeal over renewal of firearms cert

June 25th 2021

Gardaí objected to a firearms certificate being renewed for a man who had one self-harming incident five years ago but his doctor said that recreational shooting was one of the things that had helped him.

Judge Olann Kelleher decided to allow the appeal by 37-year-old Gary Healy for his firearms certificate at Cork District Court and granted him the cert.

The doctor confirmed, when questioned by Mr Murphy, that Mr Healy’s mental health is normal, that he likes to relax by shooting and hunting and that this is actually one of the things that got him back to being in good mental health.

Judge Kelleher concluded that Dr O’Mahony’s view was that Mr Healy’s mental health is good and he would certify him as a fit person to hold a firearms licence.

“He had an unfortunate episode once (in 2016) and he is over it. If that is the only objection I grant the appeal,” Judge Kelleher said.

Source: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/courtandcrime/arid-40322633.html

Burren farmer wins gun battle dispute despite objections from senior garda

February 27th 2023

A Burren farmer in dispute with a neighbour has won a court battle to get his gun back despite objections by a senior Garda.

This follows Judge Mary Larkin at Ennis District Court upholding Kieran Carkill’s appeal against a decision by a local Garda Superintendent to revoke his firearms licence.

Last October, Supt John Ryan wrote to Mr Carkill of Leanna,Kilnaboy, Co Clare to inform him that his firearms licence for his single barrel gun was being revoked.

In the letter, Supt Ryan told Mr Carkill that he was not satisfied that he can be permitted to have in his possession the gun, without being a danger to the public or that he had good reason to require the fire-arm.

In court, Supt Ryan stated that there was seven documented incidents involving Mr Carkill and a neighbour across 2021 and 2022 including one since the October letter was issued.

After hearing that all complaints against Mr Carkill concerning the seven incidents came from his neighbour, Judge Larkin said: “You can create difficulty for your neighbour if you like, but I don’t see why I should disallow Mr Carkill from having a licence because someone doesn’t like him or is not happy with him.”

Judge Larkin said that there “has never been a threat of any kind” made by Mr Carkill involving his neighbour.

Judge Larkin said that Mr Carkill has owned the licenced gun since 2007 and his father before him and the difficulties with the neighbour have existed long since.

Source: https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/burren-farmer-wins-gun-battle-dispute-despite-objections-from-senior-garda-1439333.html

We will continue to update this page with any other court case results that we find.

Email us here if you have any corrections or cases for us to add:

info@firearmsunited.ie

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Firearms United Network Ireland