INDEPENDENT TD Michael Healy-Rae is standing over his comments that criminals who break into houses should be aware they may "leave in a wooden box".
The TD insisted last night he was not advocating liberal gun licensing laws but was calling for a debate on how far a person should be allowed to go to protect their home and property, including extending gun certificates.
The controversy was sparked when, writing in the 'Garda Review' magazine where he is critical of the closure of rural garda stations, Mr Healy-Rae said: "I do welcome changes in the law with regard to a person protecting their home, and using reasonable force to do so.
"I personally believe that it is no harm for these criminals to know ... they may leave the home that they break into in a wooden box." The controversy was fuelled on Thursday when he told Radio Kerry there should be a debate on allowing people to use a gun to protect their property.
Mr Healy-Rae said: "A person is not ever supposed to go out and purchase a firearm for the sole purpose of protecting themselves or property, but if a person was inside in their house and if somebody was coming up the stairs breaking into their property, and if they did have a gun, well, I certainly wouldn't go leaving it on the ground and go out the door to see who's coming up the stairs.
"I'd have it with me anyway and I'd encourage anyone else to bring it ... it's up to yourself to protect yourself. You can't be relying on others."
Last night, he told the Irish Independent he wasn't advocating liberal gun laws.
"I'd hate to see us ever going down the road of America where you can buy a firearm over the counter but at the end of the day there's been a dramatic increase in crime in rural areas and people are left to rely on neighbourhood watch schemes," he said.