564. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of firearms training certificates held by 14 to 17 year olds; the increase or otherwise in the number of firearms certificates issued in 2018; the level of private legally held firearms per head of population; and the way in which these figures compare with figures from ten years ago in tabular form. [13908/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): I wish to advise the Deputy that, in 2009, major changes were introduced in the way firearms were licensed in the State. Key changes saw the introduction of a new three-year firearm certificate. The legislation also saw the introduction of a Firearms Training Certificate.
In accordance with Section 2A of the Firearms Act, 1925, as amended, a person over 14 years of age can apply for a firearms training certificate. Such a certificate authorises the person to possess a firearm only while carrying and using the firearm for hunting or target shooting and under the supervision of a specified person over 18 years of age who holds a firearms certificate in respect of the firearm concerned. An application for a training certificate, where the applicant is under 16 years of age, shall be accompanied by the written consent of the applicant's parent or guardian.
An Garda Síochána advise that figures of firearm certificates relating to 10 years ago are not comparable with figures for the current numbers of firearm certificates, as the numbers, classes and types of firearm certificates previously issued under legislation prior to 2009 differ to the three-year certificates issued since then. An Garda Síochána have advised that the number of firearms currently licensed in the State in 2019 has reduced significantly, by in the region of circa 30,000 firearms, from the number licensed in 2008/2009.
The following table sets out the number of Firearm Training Certificates currently on issue in the State to individuals over 14 years of age included in the overall number of 187,445 certificates. fully processed and issued as of 1 January, 2019.
|-||Firearm Certificates as of 1st January, 2019|
|Total Firearm Certificates||187,445|