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Ireland — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

The estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Ireland is 300,0001 2

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

The estimated rate of private gun ownership (both licit and illicit) in Ireland is 6.353 firearms per 100 people

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Ireland, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 49,0001 4

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Ireland, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 118,0001 4

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Ireland, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 1,6201 5 6

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Ireland ranked at No. 987

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Ireland ranked at No. 708

Proportion of Households with Firearms

In Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more guns is reported to be

2004/05: 12.4%9

Proportion of Households with Rifles

In Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more rifles is reported to be

2005: 25%10

Proportion of Households with Shotguns

In Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more shotguns is reported to be

2005: 78%10

Proportion of Households with Handguns

In Ireland, the percentage of households with one or more handguns is reported to be

2004/05: 1.0%9 10

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Ireland is reported to be

2013: 178,00011
2012: 168,6001 5 4

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Ireland is

2013: 3.733
2012: 3.57

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Ireland there are estimated to be 150,0002

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Ireland there are estimated to be 3.393 illicit firearms per 100 people

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Ireland are reported to have 57,31212 to 112,00013 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Ireland, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm14

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Ireland are reported to have 3,00015 to 14,39016 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2012: 3817 18 19 20 21
2011: 39
2010: 4317 18 19 20 21 22
2009: 5517 18 19 20 21
2008: 52
2007: 41

Rate of All Gun Deaths per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of all gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.803
2011: 0.83
2010: 0.933 22
2009: 1.203
2008: 1.15
2007: 0.93

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Ireland, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 5323 24
2011: 4223 24 25
2010: 53
2009: 56
2008: 5023 26 24 25
2007: 77
2006: 62
2005: 52
2004: 30
2003: 5126 24 25
2002: 59
2001: 58
2000: 56
1999: 4626 25
1998: 51
1997: 3827 25
1996: 42
1995: 43

Rate of Homicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of homicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2012: 1.123 24
2011: 0.903 24 25
2010: 1.15
2009: 1.22
2008: 1.11
2007: 1.74
2006: 0.743 28 24 25
2005: 1.24
2004: 0.73
2003: 1.273 29 24 25
2002: 1.50
2001: 1.50
2000: 1.47
1999: 1.223 30 25
1998: 1.37
1997: 1.0427 25
1996: 1.16
1995: 1.19
1991: 0.6231

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 1032
2012: 1217 32
2011: 11
2010: 2117 32 22
2009: 2017
2008: 1717 32 25
2007: 14
2006: 2725
2005: 22
2004: 926 25
2003: 21
2002: 1026
2001: 9
2000: 12
1999: 1226 25
1998: 4
1997: 927 25
1996: 16
1995: 12

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of firearm homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.2232
2012: 0.2517 32
2011: 0.24
2010: 0.4517 32 22
2009: 0.4417
2008: 0.3817 32 25
2007: 0.32
2006: 0.625
2005: 0.5
2004: 0.2029 25
2003: 0.50
1999: 0.3230 25
1998: 0.08
1997: 0.2527 25
1996: 0.44
1995: 0.33
1991: 0.0333

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

ChartIn Ireland, the percentage of homicides committed with a firearm is reported to be

2008: 42.0%25
2007: 23.4%
2006: 43.5%
2005: 42.3%
2004: 30.0%
2003: 46.7%
1999: 31.6%
1998: 7.9%
1997: 23.7%
1996: 38.1%
1995: 27.9%

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual handgun homicides total

2013: 132
2012: 217 32
2011: 5
2010: 6
2009: 3
2008: 3
2007: 2

Rate of Handgun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of handgun homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0232
2012: 0.0417 32
2011: 0.11
2010: 0.13
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.07
2007: 0.05

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual long gun homicides total

2013: 232
2012: 317 32
2011: 4
2010: 4
2009: 2
2008: 3
2007: 3

Rate of Long Gun Homicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of long gun homicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0432
2012: 0.0617 32
2011: 0.09
2010: 0.09
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.07
2007: 0.07

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Ireland, annual gun homicides (other) total

2013: 732
2012: 717 32
2011: 2
2010: 11
2009: 15
2008: 11
2007: 9

Rate of Gun Homicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of gun homicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.1532
2012: 0.1517 32
2011: 0.04
2010: 0.24
2009: 0.33
2008: 0.24
2007: 0.20

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Ireland, annual suicides by any means total

2012: 50734
2011: 554
2010: 495
2009: 552
2008: 506
2007: 458
1997: 46635

Rate of Suicide per 100,000 People (any method)

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of suicide by any means per 100,000 population is

2012: 10.7434
2011: 11.86
2010: 10.71
2009: 12.05
2008: 11.20
2007: 10.36
1997: 11.7835
1991: 9.8136

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 2937
2012: 2018 37
2011: 27
2010: 1918 37 22
2009: 3118 37
2008: 31
2007: 22
1997: 4435

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of firearm suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.6337
2012: 0.4218 37
2011: 0.58
2010: 0.4118 37 22
2009: 0.6818 37
2008: 0.69
2007: 0.50
1997: 1.1135
1991: 0.9438

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual handgun suicides total

2012: 018 37
2011: 2
2010: 2
2009: 1
2008: 1
2007: 1

Rate of Handgun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of handgun suicide per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0018 37
2011: 0.04
2010: 0.04
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.02

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, the number of long gun suicides is

2013: 1437
2012: 718 37
2011: 14
2010: 8
2009: 12
2008: 19
2007: 14

Rate of Long Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of long gun suicide per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.3037
2012: 0.1518 37
2011: 0.30
2010: 0.17
2009: 0.26
2008: 0.42
2007: 0.32

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Ireland, annual gun suicides (other) total

2013: 1537
2012: 1318 37
2011: 11
2010: 9
2009: 18
2008: 11
2007: 7

Rate of Gun Suicide (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of gun suicide (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.3337
2012: 0.2818 37
2011: 0.24
2010: 0.19
2009: 0.39
2008: 0.24
2007: 0.16

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2013: 539
2012: 419 39
2011: 0
2010: 219 39 22
2009: 119 39
2008: 2
2007: 019
1997: 335

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.1139
2012: 0.0819 39
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.04
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.0019
1997: 0.0835
1991: 0.1140

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2012: 019
2011: 0
2010: 019 39
2009: 119
2008: 0
2007: 0

Rate of Unintentional Handgun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by handgun per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0019
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0019 39
2009: 0.0219
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2013: 239
2012: 219 39
2011: 019
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 119 39
2007: 019

Rate of Unintentional Long Gun Death per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by long gun per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0439
2012: 0.0419 39
2011: 0.0019
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0219 39
2007: 0.0019

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by firearm (other) total

2013: 339
2012: 219 39
2011: 019
2010: 219 39
2009: 0
2008: 119
2007: 0

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death (Other) per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unintentional shooting death by firearm (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0739
2012: 0.0419 39
2011: 0.0019
2010: 0.0419 39
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0219
2007: 0.00

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Ireland, annual shooting deaths in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 241
2012: 220 41
2011: 1
2010: 120 41 22
2009: 320 41
2008: 2
2007: 5
1997: 035

Rate of Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unknown-cause shooting deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0441
2012: 0.0420 41
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.02
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.11
1997: 0.0035
1991: 0.1442

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Ireland, annual deaths by handgun in which the cause remains undecided total

2012: 020
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 020 41
2007: 1

Rate of Handgun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unknown-cause handgun deaths per 100,000 population is

2012: 0.0020
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0020 41
2007: 0.02

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Ireland, annual deaths by long gun in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 141
2012: 120 41
2011: 1
2010: 020
2009: 020 41
2008: 1
2007: 020

Rate of Long Gun Death from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unknown-cause long gun deaths per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0241
2012: 0.0220 41
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.0020
2009: 0.0020 41
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.0020

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

ChartIn Ireland, annual deaths by firearm (other) in which the cause remains undecided total

2013: 141
2012: 120
2011: 0
2010: 120 41
2009: 3
2008: 1
2007: 4

Rate of Gun Death (Other) from Undetermined Cause per 100,000 People

ChartIn Ireland, the annual rate of unknown-cause gun deaths (other) per 100,000 population is

2013: 0.0241
2012: 0.0220
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0220 41
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.09

Justifiable Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2012: 021
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 0
2007: 0

ProductionGun Industry

Regulation of Firearm Makers

In Ireland, the manufacture of small arms, ammunition and/or their components is permitted only if the maker holds a valid licence, but is not conducted in practice43

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Ireland, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Ireland is reported by Customs to be US$1,285,75351 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Ireland, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law52 46 47 48 49

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Ireland is reported by Customs to be US$5,866,93151 (2011)53

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Ireland is low54 55

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Ireland, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law56 57 58

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Ireland include45 certification of the intended end user of any small arms or ammunition transfer, and/or a written declaration of its intended end use

MeasuresGun Regulation

Firearm Regulation - Guiding Policy

The regulation of guns in Ireland is categorised as restrictive59

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Ireland includes the Firearms Act 1925,60 the Firearms (Restricted Firearms and Ammunition) Order 2008,61 the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Number 28 of 2009,62 the Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,63 64 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012, and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 200365

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Ireland are regulated by the Garda Síochána66 64

Right to Possess Firearms

In Ireland, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law67 68 69

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Ireland, civilians are not allowed to possess handguns, military-style weapons, semi-automatic and automatic firearms without appropriate registration70 71 72 73

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Ireland, private possession of fully automatic weapons is restricted70 72 73

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Ireland, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is restricted70 74 75 73

Regulation of Handguns

In Ireland, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is restricted71 70 5 72 74 75 73

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Ireland, only licensed gun owners76 77 78 72 74 may lawfully acquire, possess or transfer a firearm or ammunition

Genuine Reason Required for Firearm Possession

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Ireland are required to establish a genuine reason to possess a firearm79 80

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Ireland is 16 years81

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Ireland must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and medical79 82 83 80 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Ireland, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required84 85

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Ireland does not stipulate69 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked

Firearm Safety Training

In Ireland, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required79 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Ireland, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years86

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Ireland are permitted to possess any number of firearms69

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Ireland are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition69 87

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Ireland, the law requires88 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register

Gun Dealer Record Keeping

In Ireland, licensed firearm dealers are required89 90 91 88 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Ireland, State agencies are required92 93 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

Gun Sales and Transfers

Regulation of Private Gun Sales

In Ireland, the private sale and transfer of firearms is prohibited91

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Ireland, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful91 94 75

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

ChartThe number of licensed firearm dealers in Ireland is reported to be

2012: 27395
2011: 300
2010: 329
2009: 325
2008: 319
2007: 335
2006: 339
2005: 358
2004: 350
2003: 410
2002: 430
2001: 423
2000: 440

Waiting Period for Gun Possession

In Ireland, the minimum wait for a lawful firearm purchase to be completed is undetermined69

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Ireland, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated69 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Ireland include96 97 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of private firearms and ammunition by licensed gun owners

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Dealer

Firearm regulations in Ireland include98 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by licensed arms dealers

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Government

Government regulations in Ireland do not include69 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Ireland do not include69 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition while in transit

Marking and Tracing Guns and Ammunition

Firearm Marking

In Ireland, a unique identifying mark on each firearm is required by law93 92 99 100

Firearm Tracing

In Ireland, state authorities carry out92 100 88 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Record of Firearms and Ammunition

In Ireland, the ballistic characteristics of each civilian firearm and its ammunition are not69 101 recorded in a register

Carrying Guns

Carrying Guns Openly in Public

In Ireland, carrying a firearm in plain view in a public place is allowed by law, subject to a valid permit.76 No evidence could be found of carry permits being issued.

Carrying Hidden Handguns in Public

In Ireland, carrying a concealed firearm in a public place is allowed by law, subject to a valid permit.76 No evidence could be found of carry permits being issued.

Penalty for Illicit Firearm Possession

In Ireland, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm102 is 14 years in prison103

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Ireland are known to have104 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Firearms Surrendered and Seized

ChartIn Ireland, the number of firearms voluntarily surrendered, bought back or seized by authorities is reported to be

2013: 624105
2012: 696
2011: 737
2010: 948
2009: 2,281104 105

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Ireland, it is state policy106 to destroy surplus, collected and seized firearms rather than return them to the secondary arms market

MeasuresInternational Controls

Regional Agreements

European Union

As a member of the European Union, Ireland is bound by the provisions of the ‘EU Firearms Directive’ – the 2007 Legislative Resolution on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons of the European Parliament107 108

European Union Export Reporting

Under the European Union Common Position on Arms Exports, Ireland is bound to declare its transfers of military technology and equipment. Independent monitoring provides detailed comparisons of arms export reporting compliance across EU member states, and records that Ireland has submitted one or more national reports109 on its arms transfers

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development

The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development, was signed in 2006110 by Ireland.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified111 by Ireland

United Nations Firearms Protocol

The United Nations Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition has not been signed112 by Ireland

United Nations Small Arms Programme of Action UNPoA

UNPoA Commitment

On 21 July 2001, Ireland committed to a consensus decision of the United Nations to adopt, support and implement the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects113

UNPoA Implementation Monitor Score

In its UN small arms Programme of Action Implementation Monitor (PoAIM Phase 1), the Small Arms Survey scored Ireland against its commitments to the PoA, then ranked it at No. 55114 115 116 117 among 159 Member States

UNPoA National Reporting

Under the terms of its 2001 commitment to the United Nations small arms Programme of Action, Ireland has submitted one or more national reports118 119 on its implementation of the UNPoA

UNPoA National Point of Contact

In Ireland, a National Point of Contact to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has been designated120 119

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Ireland, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated120 119

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Ireland submitted to the UN from 2001 to 2010, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities was apparent119

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated121 119 by Ireland to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Ireland has declared122 its small arms exports in one or more annual National Reports on Arms Exports.

United Nations Membership

In the UN List of Member States, Ireland has been a Member State of the United Nations since 1955123

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists124 Ireland as a Participating State

BackgroundCountry Profile

Global Peace Index

To see where Ireland ranks, select the Link icon to open an external web page at the Global Peace Index


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