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Saturday 1 October 2016

How 'toy' guns selling for €20 are being used in robberies

Robin Schiller

Published 13/07/2016 | 07:39

Firearm (stock image)
Firearm (stock image)

Imitation firearms being bought in the city for as little as €20 are being used in robberies.

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The Council is calling on the Justice Minister to review the legislation surrounding these realistic firearms, including airsoft rifles and pellet guns.  

This comes after concerns were raised over their use in crime in the city.

A meeting of Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) heard how replica firearms such as airsoft rifles were freely available for as little as €20 in markets and shops around the inner-city.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said that he was concerned over such ‘toy’ guns being used in robberies and burglaries, adding that there “is no control on replica firearms”.

“They are shamefully on sale around the city and we should begin to start a debate on the issue,” Mr Lacey said.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack Nolan agreed that there was a challenge around certain replica weapons that “have the appearance of a firearm”.

Cllr Kieran Binchy (Fine Gael) said that such weapons being displayed openly in shop windows “should not be for sale”. The JPC’s chairperson Cllr Daithi de Roiste (Fianna Fail) added that the committee would write to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald looking for legislation to be brought in regulating the sale and supply of such items

“You have a situation now where these ‘toy’ guns are readily available for a small price, and they’re being used across the city for the wrong reasons.

“These imitation firearms are being used to intimidate communities, and are also being used in robberies,” Mr de Roiste said.

“To the untrained eye an airsoft gun can look like a real weapon, but the consequences for being caught with an imitation firearm rather than an authentic weapon are far more lenient and criminals are aware of this. That’s why we are writing to the minister to ask for stricter laws and regulation on the sale and supply of such imitation guns,” he added.

As a number of airsoft and other realistic imitation firearms do not have over one joule in muzzle energy, they do not fall under the definition of a firearm under the Firearms Act 1925. Last month a 40-year-old Clondalkin man pleaded guilty to robbing a cash-in-transit van with a fake gun.

Trevor Cooke pleaded guilty to robbing a cash box containing €50,000 at Bawnogue Post Office on October 3, 2013, after pointing an imitation firearm into the face of a security worker.

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