Wednesday 21 August 2019

Farmers fear 100,000 guns could be banned by EU

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Claire Fox

Claire Fox

New legislation proposed by the EU means farmers could have to pay millions of euro to replace obsolete guns.

EU and Irish civil servants are looking at restricting the use of lead in shooting and fishing, a move that could see more than 100,000 guns in Ireland become obsolete.

The move is related to lead contamination and an EU council meeting is due to discuss the proposals next month.

If passed, the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) estimates that 70-80pc of shotguns will be put out of action here.

It also estimates the cost of replacing guns could amount to more than €150m, with farmers accounting for over half of gun users in Ireland.

NARGC chair Dan Curley said the cost of replacing guns could be from €750 to €1,000 per gun. If farmers want to have their guns re-proofed, they would have to have them transferred to Birmingham in the UK because there is no proof house in Ireland.

"Reproofing could cost up to €300. There's no infrastructure in Ireland if this legislation comes through.

"The Government doesn't seem to understand gaming at all and the massive repercussions this could have on farmers," he said.

Mr Curley said that the EU was proposing lead in guns be replaced with steel, but added that this was "a dangerous and inhumane" option that could put pressure on guns.

"Steel puts pressure on older guns. Some guns that are certified for lead have tight chokes that aren't suitable for steel and could be potentially very dangerous," he added.

Mr Curley also pointed out that if the ban on wetlands was introduced, it would mean a ban on lead guns even in the likes of floodplains in Ireland.

In Ireland, the law states that anyone with a firearm must have a valid licence.

There are more than 200,000 legally held firearms in Ireland and estimates put the number of unregistered firearms at 150,000.

Gun owners must renew their licence every three years in order to use a gun for a limited range of hunting and sport shooting.

Irish Independent

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