A MARKETING student found in possession of a gas-powered air pistol after trying to break down a pub door insisted it was a "toy" that he used to shoot at a dart board at home.
Michael O'Dwyer (34) was detained under the Offences Against the State Act after gardai arrested him and found the handgun and equipment on him.
Dublin District Court heard he had bought it years earlier while on holiday in Spain and did not realise it was classed as a weapon here.
Judge William Hamill adjourned the case against him for a pre-sentence probation report.
O'Dwyer, of Thorndale Crescent, Artane, pleaded guilty to possession of the air pistol and two sets of steel ball bearings as ammunition.
The incident happened at Capel Street on June 15, 2012.
Garda John Tansey told the court he was called to Slattery's pub where it was reported that a man was attempting to break down the door at 1pm.
He found the accused outside in an intoxicated state and spoke to the pub manager, who said the defendant had been ejected for causing trouble inside.
He was given several opportunities to leave the area but refused and was arrested under Public Order legislation.
On searching him, the garda found a small black pouch with two pens filled with metal ball bearings and two silver gas canisters.
These could be used for quickly reloading the gun's magazine, the garda explained.
He was re-arrested under the offences against the State act.
Garda Tansey said that ballistics testing showed the gun was legally a weapon and the ball bearings were ammunition.
In the course of interview, O'Dwyer said he had worked nearby, had been attacked previously and had the gun for his own protection.
Garda Tansey told the court he did not believe the accused was a danger to the public, but that it was a "stupid drunken mistake".
He had two previous convictions – for drunk driving and a public order offence.
O'Dwyer was "very embarrassed to find himself in this position", his lawyer said.
He had previously worked in a camping shop and had returned to the area to meet old work colleagues.
O'Dwyer had been drinking heavily at the time after losing his job. He was now on a college course in international marketing.
Judge Hamill adjourned the case to September 27.