Gun licences are too easy to get, warn doctors
DOCTORS have issued a call to make it more difficult to get a gun licence. It is now easier to get a gun licence than a driving licence, even though the risks can lead to tragedy, a GP claimed yesterday. Dr Ken Egan, a GP in Mayo told the AGM of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) that it was time to introduce more curbs on the granting of licences in the light of self-harm and growing violence.
"If someone wants a gun licence they must fill out a nine-page form and there is just one question on whether they feel they have a medical condition. All you have to say is no.
"If you fill out a form for a driving licence, there are 11 questions on health. GPs are getting calls from gardai asking if so-and-so is okay to get a gun licence. But we have no medical criteria on which to base the decision," he said. Other doctors supported his call on the Department of Justice to stop issuing licences until the criteria was established.
Meanwhile, a psychiatrist, Dr Siobhan Barry, said a lack of services here meant that people with an intellectual disability who developed mental health problems were having to be sent abroad .Dr Barry said she and a colleague had done a survey in January and found that 55 people were having to be treated outside the State. "One person has been there since 1981," she added. "We should be building up a body of expertise to allow people at home to treat them," she said.