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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

There are reportedly 1,6201 5 6 handguns in civilian possession in Ireland

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

Number of Registered Firearms

ChartThe number of registered guns in Ireland is reported to be

2013: 178,0009
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 57,31210 to 112,00011 firearms

Number of Law Enforcement Firearms

Police in Ireland are reported to have 3,00012 to 14,39013 firearms

ImpactsDeath and Injury

Total Number of Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual deaths resulting from firearms total

2012: 3814 15 16 17 18
2011: 39
2010: 43
2009: 55
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: 0.93
2009: 1.20
2008: 1.15
2007: 0.93

Homicides (any method)

ChartIn Ireland, annual homicides by any means total

2012: 5319
2011: 4219 20
2010: 53
2009: 56
2008: 5019 21 20
2007: 77
2006: 62
2005: 52
2004: 30
2003: 5121 20
2002: 59
2001: 58
2000: 56
1999: 46
1998: 51
1997: 3822 20
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
2011: 0.903 20
2010: 1.15
2009: 1.22
2008: 1.11
2007: 1.74
2006: 0.743 23 20
2005: 1.24
2004: 0.73
2003: 1.273 24 20
2002: 1.50
2001: 1.50
2000: 1.47
1999: 1.223 25 20
1998: 1.37
1997: 1.0422 20
1996: 1.16
1995: 1.19
1991: 0.6226

Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual firearm homicides total

2012: 1214
2011: 11
2010: 2114 27
2009: 2014
2008: 1714 27 20
2007: 14
2006: 1227 20
2005: 16
2004: 921 20
2003: 21
2002: 1021
2001: 9
2000: 12
1999: 1221 20
1998: 4
1997: 922 20
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

2012: 0.2514
2011: 0.24
2010: 0.4514 27
2009: 0.4414
2008: 0.3814 27 20
2007: 0.32
2006: 0.2827 20
2005: 0.39
2004: 0.2024 20
2003: 0.50
1999: 0.3225 20
1998: 0.08
1997: 0.2522 20
1996: 0.44
1995: 0.33
1991: 0.0328

Handgun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual handgun homicides total

2012: 214
2011: 5
2010: 614 27
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

2012: 0.0414
2011: 0.11
2010: 0.1314 27
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.07
2007: 0.05

Long Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual long gun homicides total

2012: 314
2011: 4
2010: 414 27
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

2012: 0.0614
2011: 0.09
2010: 0.0914 27
2009: 0.04
2008: 0.07
2007: 0.07

Gun Homicides (Other)

ChartIn Ireland, annual gun homicides (other) total

2012: 714
2011: 2
2010: 1114 27
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

2012: 0.1514
2011: 0.04
2010: 0.2414 27
2009: 0.33
2008: 0.24
2007: 0.20

Suicides (any method)

ChartIn Ireland, annual suicides by any means total

2012: 50729
2011: 554
2010: 495
2009: 552
2008: 506
2007: 458
1997: 46630

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: 10.7429
2011: 11.86
2010: 10.71
2009: 12.05
2008: 11.20
2007: 10.36
1997: 11.7830
1991: 9.8131

Gun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual firearm suicides total

2012: 2015
2011: 27
2010: 1915 32
2009: 31
2008: 31
2007: 22
2006: 2732
2005: 29
1997: 4430

Rate of Gun Suicide per 100,000 People

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

2012: 0.4215
2011: 0.58
2010: 0.4115 32
2009: 0.68
2008: 0.69
2007: 0.50
2006: 0.6432
2005: 0.7
1997: 1.1130
1991: 0.9433

Handgun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual handgun suicides total

2012: 015
2011: 2
2010: 215 32
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: 0.0015
2011: 0.04
2010: 0.0415 32
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.02

Long Gun Suicides

ChartIn Ireland, the number of long gun suicides is

2012: 715
2011: 14
2010: 815 32
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

2012: 0.1515
2011: 0.30
2010: 0.1715 32
2009: 0.26
2008: 0.42
2007: 0.32

Gun Suicides (Other)

ChartIn Ireland, annual gun suicides (other) total

2012: 1315
2011: 11
2010: 915 32
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

2012: 0.2815
2011: 0.24
2010: 0.1915 32
2009: 0.39
2008: 0.24
2007: 0.16

Unintentional Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths total

2012: 416
2011: 0
2010: 216 34
2009: 1
2008: 2
2007: 016
2005: 134
1997: 330

Rate of Unintentional Gun Death per 100,000 People

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

2012: 0.0816
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0416 34
2009: 0.02
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.0016
2005: 0.0234
1997: 0.0830
1991: 0.1135

Unintentional Handgun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by handgun total

2012: 016
2011: 0
2010: 016 34
2009: 116
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: 0.0016
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0016 34
2009: 0.0216
2008: 0.00
2007: 0.00

Unintentional Long Gun Deaths

ChartIn Ireland, annual unintentional shooting deaths by long gun total

2012: 216
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 116 34
2007: 016

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

2012: 0.0416
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0216 34
2007: 0.0016

Unintentional Gun Deaths (Other)

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

2012: 216
2011: 0
2010: 216 34
2009: 0
2008: 116
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

2012: 0.0416
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0416 34
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0216
2007: 0.00

Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2012: 217
2011: 1
2010: 117 36
2009: 3
2008: 2
2007: 5
1997: 030

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

2012: 0.0417
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.0217 36
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.04
2007: 0.11
1997: 0.0030
1991: 0.1437

Handgun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2012: 017
2011: 0
2010: 0
2009: 0
2008: 017 36
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: 0.0017
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.00
2008: 0.0017 36
2007: 0.02

Long Gun Deaths from Undetermined Cause

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

2012: 117
2011: 1
2010: 0
2009: 017 36
2008: 1
2007: 017

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

2012: 0.0217
2011: 0.02
2010: 0.00
2009: 0.0017 36
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.0017

Gun Deaths (Other) from Undetermined Cause

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

2012: 117
2011: 0
2010: 117 36
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

2012: 0.0217
2011: 0.00
2010: 0.0217 36
2009: 0.07
2008: 0.02
2007: 0.09

Justifiable Gun Homicides

ChartIn Ireland, annual legal-intervention gun homicides total

2012: 018
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 not conducted in practice38

TransfersGun Trade and Trafficking

Regulation of Firearm Exports

In Ireland, firearm and ammunition exports are limited by transfer control law39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Small Arms Exports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition exports from Ireland is reported by Customs to be US$1,285,75346 (2011)

Regulation of Firearm Imports

In Ireland, firearm and ammunition imports are limited by transfer control law47 41 42 43 44

Small Arms Imports (US$) - Customs

The annual value of small arms and ammunition imports to Ireland is reported by Customs to be US$5,866,93146 (2011)48

Smuggling Guns and Ammunition

Reports suggest that the level of firearm and ammunition smuggling in Ireland is low49 50

Regulation of Arms Brokers

In Ireland, the activities of arms brokers and transfer intermediaries are specifically regulated by law51 52 53

End User Certificates

Customs regulations in Ireland include40 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 restrictive54

Firearm Law

Guiding gun control legislation in Ireland includes the Firearms Act 1925,55 the Firearms (Restricted Firearms and Ammunition) Order 2008,56 the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act Number 28 of 2009,57 the Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons,58 59 the European Union Firearms Regulation of 2012, and the Common Position on the Control of Arms Brokering of 200360

Firearm Regulation Authority

Guns in Ireland are regulated by the Garda Síochána61 59

Right to Possess Firearms

In Ireland, the right to private gun ownership is not guaranteed by law62 63

Restricted Firearms and Ammunition

In Ireland, civilians are not allowed to possess handguns, military-style weapons, semi-automatic and automatic firearms without appropriate registration64 65 66 67

Regulation of Automatic Weapons

In Ireland, private possession of fully automatic weapons is restricted64 66 67

Regulation of Semiautomatic Assault Weapons

In Ireland, private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons is restricted64 68 69 67

Regulation of Handguns

In Ireland, private possession of handguns (pistols and revolvers) is restricted65 64 5 66 68 69 67

Gun Ownership and Possession

In Ireland, only licensed gun owners70 71 72 66 68 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 prove genuine reason to possess a firearm73 74

Minimum Age for Firearm Possession

The minimum age for gun ownership in Ireland is 16 years75

Gun Licence Background Checks

An applicant for a firearm licence in Ireland must pass a background check which considers criminal, mental and medical73 76 77 74 records

Reference Required for Firearm Licence

In Ireland, third party character references for each gun licence applicant are required78 79

Domestic Violence and Firearms

Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Ireland does not stipulate63 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 required73 for a firearm licence

Gun Owner Licensing Period

In Ireland gun owners must re-apply and re-qualify for their firearm licence every three years80

Limit on Number of Guns

Licensed firearm owners in Ireland are permitted to possess any number of firearms63

Limit on Quantity, Type of Ammunition

Licensed firearm owners in Ireland are permitted to possess any quantity of ammunition63 81

Firearm Registration

Civilian Gun Registration

In Ireland, the law requires82 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 required83 84 85 82 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 required86 87 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 prohibited85

Regulation of Dealer Gun Sales

In Ireland, dealing in firearms by way of business without a valid gun dealer’s licence is unlawful85 88 69

Number of Licensed Gun Dealers

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

2012: 27389
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 undetermined63

Regulation of Gun Shows

In Ireland, gun shows and temporary firearm dealing events are not regulated63 in law

Storage and Transport of Guns and Ammunition

Firearm and Ammunition Storage Regulations - Private

Firearm regulations in Ireland include90 91 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 include92 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 include63 written specifications for the lawful safe storage of firearms and ammunition by state entities

Firearm and Ammunition Transport Regulations

Regulations in Ireland do not include63 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 law87 86 93 94

Firearm Tracing

In Ireland, state authorities carry out86 94 82 recognised arms tracing and tracking procedures

Ballistic Marking of Firearms and Ammunition

In Ireland, state authorities do not employ63 95 ballistic fingerprinting technology to trace guns and ammunition

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.70 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.70 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 firearm96 is 14 years prison97

Collection, Amnesty and Destruction Programmes

Authorities in Ireland are known to have98 implemented voluntary firearm surrender schemes, and/or weapon seizure programmes in order to reduce the number of illicit firearms in circulation

Firearms Collected and Seized

ChartIn Ireland, firearms voluntarily surrendered for destruction, collected or seized in routine policing are reported to number

2013: 62499
2012: 696
2011: 737
2010: 948
2009: 2,28198 99

Destruction and Disposal Policy

In Ireland, it is state policy100 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 Parliament101 102

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 yet to submit a national report103 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 2006104 by Ireland.

United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been signed and ratified105 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 signed106 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 Aspects107

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. 55108 109 110 111 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 reports112 113 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 designated114 113

UNPoA National Coordinating Body

In Ireland, a National Coordinating Body to deal with issues relating to the UNPoA has not been designated114 113

UNPoA Civil Society Involvement and Support

In National Reports of Ireland submitted to the UN, a history of substantive cooperation with civil society in support of UNPoA activities is apparent113

UNPoA International Assistance – Donor

Funds for UNPoA implementation have been donated115 113 by Ireland to other UN Member States

United Nations Small Arms Register

According to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Ireland has declared116 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 1955117

Wassenaar Arrangement

The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls and Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies lists118 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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