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Ireland — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law

StockpilesGun Numbers

Civilian Guns

Number of Privately Owned Firearms

ChartThe estimated total number of guns (both licit and illicit) held by civilians in Ireland is

2013: 185,6821 2 3
2008: 256,432
2007: 250,016
2006: 243,594
2005: 243,7701 2 3 4
2004: 236,8341 2 3

Rate of Civilian Firearm Possession per 100 Population

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

2013: 3.895 6 3
2008: 5.68
2007: 5.66
2006: 5.65
2005: 5.815 6 3 4
2004: 5.795 6 3

Number of Privately Owned Rifles

In Ireland, the number of rifles in civilian possession is reported to be 49,0007 8

Number of Privately Owned Shotguns

In Ireland, the number of shotguns in civilian possession is reported to be 118,0007 8

Number of Privately Owned Handguns

In Ireland, the number of handguns in civilian possession is reported to be 1,6207 9 10

Number of Privately Owned Firearms - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Ireland ranked at No. 9811

Rate of Privately Owned Firearms per 100 Population - World Ranking

In a 2007 comparison of the rate of private gun ownership in 178 countries, Ireland ranked at No. 704

Proportion of Households with Firearms

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

2005: 12.4%12

Proportion of Households with Handguns

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

2005: 1.0%12

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Ireland is reported to be

2013: 168,6207 13
2008: 233,1209 8
2007: 227,2879
2006: 221,449
2005: 221,609
2004: 215,304

Rate of Registered Firearms per 100 Population

ChartThe rate of registered guns per 100 people in Ireland is

2013: 3.735
2008: 5.16
2007: 5.14
2006: 5.14
2005: 5.28
2004: 5.26

Estimated Number of Illicit Firearms

ChartUnlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Ireland there are estimated to be

2013: 16,8621 14 3
2008: 23,312
2007: 22,7291 14 3 15
2006: 22,1451 14 3
2005: 22,161
2004: 21,530

Estimated Rate of Illicit Firearms per 100 Population

ChartUnlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but in Ireland the rate of illicit firearms per 100 people is estimated to be

2013: 0.355
2008: 0.52
2007: 0.51
2006: 0.51
2005: 0.53
2004: 0.53

Government Guns

Number of Military Firearms

The defence forces of Ireland are reported to have 57,31216 to 112,00017 firearms

Routine Arming of Police

In Ireland, police officers on routine patrol do not carry a firearm18

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Ireland are reported to have 3,00019 to 14,39020 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2013: 4621 22 23 24
2012: 3825 26 27 28 29
2011: 39
2010: 4325 26 27 28 29 30
2009: 5525 26 27 28 29
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

2013: 0.965
2012: 0.80
2011: 0.83
2010: 0.935 30
2009: 1.205
2008: 1.15
2007: 0.93

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Ireland, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 5331 32
2011: 4231 32 33
2010: 53
2009: 56
2008: 5031 34 32 33
2007: 77
2006: 62
2005: 52
2004: 30
2003: 5134 32 33
2002: 59
2001: 58
2000: 56
1999: 4634 33
1998: 51
1997: 3835 33
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: 1.125 32
2011: 0.905 32 33
2010: 1.15
2009: 1.22
2008: 1.11
2007: 1.74
2006: 0.745 36 32 33
2005: 1.24
2004: 0.73
2003: 1.275 37 32 33
2002: 1.50
2001: 1.50
2000: 1.47
1999: 1.225 38 33
1998: 1.37
1997: 1.0435 33
1996: 1.16
1995: 1.19
1991: 0.6239

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual firearm homicides total

2013: 1021
2012: 1225 21
2011: 11
2010: 2125 21 30
2009: 2025
2008: 1725 21 33
2007: 14
2006: 2733
2005: 22
2004: 934 33
2003: 21
2002: 1034
2001: 9
2000: 12
1999: 1234 33
1998: 4
1997: 935 33
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: 0.2221
2012: 0.2525 21
2011: 0.24
2010: 0.4525 21 30
2009: 0.4425
2008: 0.3825 21 33
2007: 0.32
2006: 0.633
2005: 0.5
2004: 0.2037 33
2003: 0.50
1999: 0.3238 33
1998: 0.08
1997: 0.2535 33
1996: 0.44
1995: 0.33
1991: 0.0340

Proportion of Homicides Committed With a Gun

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

2008: 42.0%33
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: 121
2012: 225 21
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: 0.0221
2012: 0.0425 21
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: 221
2012: 325 21
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: 0.0421
2012: 0.0625 21
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: 721
2012: 725 21
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: 0.1521
2012: 0.1525 21
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: 50741
2011: 554
2010: 495
2009: 552
2008: 506
2007: 458
1997: 46642

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: 10.7441
2011: 11.86
2010: 10.71
2009: 12.05
2008: 11.20
2007: 10.36
1997: 11.7842
1991: 9.8143

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual firearm suicides total

2013: 2922
2012: 2026 22
2011: 27
2010: 1926 22 30
2009: 3126 22
2008: 31
2007: 22
1997: 4442

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.6322
2012: 0.4226 22
2011: 0.58
2010: 0.4126 22 30
2009: 0.6826 22
2008: 0.69
2007: 0.50
1997: 1.1142
1991: 0.9444

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual handgun suicides total

2012: 026 22
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: 0.0026 22
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: 1422
2012: 726 22
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: 0.3022
2012: 0.1526 22
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: 1522
2012: 1326 22
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: 0.3322
2012: 0.2826 22
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: 523
2012: 427 23
2011: 0
2010: 227 23 30
2009: 127 23
2008: 2
2007: 027
1997: 342

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2013: 0.1123
2012: 0.0827 23
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.04
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.0027
1997: 0.0842
1991: 0.1145

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2012: 027
2011: 0
2010: 027 23
2009: 127
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: 0.0027
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0027 23
2009: 0.0227
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2013: 223
2012: 227 23
2011: 027
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 127 23
2007: 027

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: 0.0423
2012: 0.0427 23
2011: 0.0027
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0227 23
2007: 0.0027

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

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

2013: 323
2012: 227 23
2011: 027
2010: 227 23
2009: 0
2008: 127
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: 0.0723
2012: 0.0427 23
2011: 0.0027
2010: 0.0427 23
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0227
2007: 0.00

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2013: 224
2012: 228 24
2011: 1
2010: 128 24 30
2009: 328 24
2008: 2
2007: 5
1997: 042

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: 0.0424
2012: 0.0428 24
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.02
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.11
1997: 0.0042
1991: 0.1446

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2012: 028
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 028 24
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: 0.0028
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0028 24
2007: 0.02

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2013: 124
2012: 128 24
2011: 1
2010: 028
2009: 028 24
2008: 1
2007: 028

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: 0.0224
2012: 0.0228 24
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.0028
2009: 0.0028 24
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.0028

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

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

2013: 124
2012: 128
2011: 0
2010: 128 24
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: 0.0224
2012: 0.0228
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0228 24
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.09

Justifiable Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2012: 029
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 practice47 48

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Firearm Exports

In Ireland, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Ireland is reported by Customs to be US$1,285,75358 (2011)

Firearm Imports

In Ireland, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law59 52 53 54 55 56

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Ireland is reported by Customs to be US$5,866,93158 (2011)60

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Ireland is low61 62

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Ireland, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law63 64 65 66

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Ireland include49 51 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 restrictive67

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Ireland includes the Firearms Act 1925,68 the Firearms (Restricted Firearms and Ammunition) Order 2008,69 the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Number 28 of 2009,70 the firearms (Proofing) Act of 1968,71 the Act of 2008 on Control of Exports and the Order of 2009 on Control of Exports (Goods and Technology),49 63 the Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,72 73 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012, and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 200374

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Ireland are regulated by the Garda Síochána75 73

Right to Possess Firearms

In Ireland, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law76 77 78

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Ireland, civilians are not allowed to possess handguns, military-style weapons, semi-automatic and automatic firearms without appropriate registration79 80 81 82

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Ireland, private possession of fully automatic weapons is restricted79 81 82

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Ireland, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is restricted79 83 84 82

Regulation of Handguns

In Ireland, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is restricted80 85 79 9 81 83 84 82

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Ireland, only licensed gun owners86 87 88 81 83 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 firearm89 90

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Ireland is 16 years91

Gun Owner Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Ireland must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental health and medical89 92 93 90 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Ireland, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required94 95

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Ireland does not stipulate78 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 required89 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Ireland, gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years96

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Ireland are permitted to possess any number of firearms78

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Ireland are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition78 97

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Ireland, the law requires98 99 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 required100 101 102 99 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority

Gun Manufacturer Record Keeping

In Ireland, licensed gun makers are required47 to keep a record of each firearm produced, for inspection by a regulating authority

State-Owned Firearm Records

In Ireland, State agencies are required103 104 105 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 prohibited102

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Ireland, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful102 106 84

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

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

2012: 273107
2011: 300
2010: 329
2009: 325
2008: 319
2007: 335
2006: 339107 108
2005: 358107
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 undetermined78

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Ireland, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated78 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Ireland include109 110 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 include111 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 include104 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Ireland do not include78 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 law105 103 112 71 113 114

Firearm Tracing

In Ireland, state authorities carry out103 113 99 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 not78 115 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.86 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.86 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 firearm116 is six years in prison117 118 119

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Ireland are known to have120 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: 624121
2012: 696
2011: 737
2010: 948
2009: 2,281120 121

Small Arms Destroyed

In Ireland, the number of firearms destroyed following amnesty, collection and seizure programmes is reported to be

2015: 10,199122

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Ireland, it is state policy123 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 Parliament124 125

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 reports126 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 2006127 by Ireland.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified128 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 signed129 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 Aspects130

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. 55131 132 133 134 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 reports135 136 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 designated137 136

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Ireland, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated137 136

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 apparent136

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated138 136 by Ireland to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Ireland has declared139 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 1955140

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists141 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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