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Is there new legislation re Nightvision

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  • 20-03-2023 1:04pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 342 ✭✭


    Sorry been out of the loop for a while, just got a call from a station RE: a renewal, I was told that a night vision scope now requires a restricted firearms licence.



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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    Not new law just existing laws which until recently were largely ignored by both AGS and the shooting community. When I say ignored I mean no one really bothered too much with it as such sights were not common but given advances in tech and a serious drop in price they are becoming more affordable and prevalent.


    The law as it stands would suggest they are restricted. Bear with me as I believe this is what AGS are thinking.

    Section 4(g)(I) of the 1990 offensive weapons act simply defines that a firearm includes NV, thermal imaging, light emitting and light amplification devices designed to be fitted to a firearm.


    SI 21/2008 as amended by SI 337/2009 says that anything other than the firearms mentioned in paragraph 4(2) are deemed restricted. As such sights are not included in part 2 it stands to reason they are restricted.


    Suppressors were specifically mentioned in SI 337/2009 to remove the word rimfire meaning all suppressors are unrestricted but no such exemption exists for electronic sights.

    Now this only applies to scopes or firearm mounted units , not standard telescopic sights. Also a helpful reminder: or just for clarity sake.


    • Handheld units - no authorisation needed.
    • Handheld units once mounted to a firearm - authorisation needed.
    • Dedicated scope - legally a firearm and license/authorisation needed regardless of whether you own a firearm or not.
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  • Registered Users Posts: 427 ✭✭hiddenmongoose


    madness



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 1,446 Mod ✭✭✭✭otmmyboy2


    Hilarious honestly.

    Wonder what the stats on SE licences are around the country.

    And then add that number to the number of restricted licences and you have what, an increase of thousands of restricted licences?

    Never forget, the end goal is zero firearms of any type.

    S.I. No. 187/1972 - Firearms (Temporary Custody) Order - Firearms seized

    S.I. No. 21/2008 - Firearms (Restricted Firearms and Ammunition) Order 2008 - Firearm types restricted

    Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 - Firearms banned & grandfathered

    S.I. No. 420/2019 - Magazine ban, ammo storage & transport restricted

    Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 - 2023 Firearm Ban (retroactive to 8 years prior)



  • Registered Users Posts: 928 ✭✭✭freddieot


    Great explanation Cass as always.

    So, just to clarify, as this does sound mad.if one is applying for an unrestricted rifle, eg 10 22, but wants an NV scope, should the Restricted firearm box be ticked on the form as well as the scope box.

    In other words does the whole firearm application become a restricted application.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 1,446 Mod ✭✭✭✭otmmyboy2


    Essentially, as it currently stands in the legislation, yes.

    Exact same as if you wanted to use >10 round mags on a 10/22, it would make it a restricted firearm, because despite the firearm itself being in the category of non-restricted, the accessory you want to use with it would make it a restricted.

    Never forget, the end goal is zero firearms of any type.

    S.I. No. 187/1972 - Firearms (Temporary Custody) Order - Firearms seized

    S.I. No. 21/2008 - Firearms (Restricted Firearms and Ammunition) Order 2008 - Firearm types restricted

    Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 - Firearms banned & grandfathered

    S.I. No. 420/2019 - Magazine ban, ammo storage & transport restricted

    Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 - 2023 Firearm Ban (retroactive to 8 years prior)



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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    I imagine this came about as a result of the seemingly large increase of these types of devices either being imported or more likely being sold. Someone somewhere checked the number that are authorised versus the number being advertised and when then seen a (complete made up number here) ratio of say 5:1 in terms of adverts to authorisation they decided to check the law and the rest is history.

    The same thing happened with air rifles that were issued under unrestricted licenses but as bullpups were restricted, and a few other things over the years. Even pistols in 2008. The tragic shooting of Shame Geoghahan was the reason but the rise in numbers being licenses was the catalyst.

    Also, and don't shoot the messenger as I'm playin Devils advocate here, there is a serious lack of knowledge surrounding these devices both on AGS side and our side but the law says it's our fault regardless as the onus is on us to know. Even today with all the discussion surrounding them there is a large majority that don't know the law on owning one of these.

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    Yes.

    I suppose the benefit from it means that as a restricted license, depending on type of firearm, any restrictions are lifted so that includes mag size, style, design, etc.

    The problem with such applications, as @otmmyboy2 2 outlined above is the sharp rise in the number of restricted licenses which will provide AGS/DoJ with the stats they need to say such licenses are in the rise and then legislate to ban them


    It's a smart move by DoJ to bring items into then"firing line" that were not previously thought to be under threat/review.

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    I'll say one other thing and it's not really helpful given the circumstances but worth pointing out as it's another case of history repeating itself.

    All the associations are crawling out of the wood work NOW. Where were they when this started in 2015 with the proposed ban on semi auto centre fire rifles. They made it clear that was not their fight and they wouldn't be getting involved.

    When the FEC was formed it was clear the direction it was going to take and I said some time back that if people thought the committee would stop at semi autos they were sadly mistaken. Now we see the committee is focusing on sights, which begs the question what is next.

    The shooting community is poor at working on these issues but even more so when everything done is reactively and not proactively. We're always on the back foot in these "fights", ones that we are always the underdog in.

    Just some food for thought.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭itisnotgrand


    Legislate to ban what? Restricted licences or nv?



  • Registered Users Posts: 342 ✭✭reniwren


    I suppose the main thing is that its bloody hard to apply for an additional firearms licence for something that doesnt have serial numbers and can be built from a screen a camera and a few IR bulbs.

    I have a very early model that has a bit of silicone tube to shove onto the scope and have had it since the first ones came on the scene.

    Really cant see how they would enforce it if they said owning one was illegal. would be like saying, oh I see you have a night vision scope on the side of your house there.



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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    Either, neither. I don't know but it gives them options.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,529 ✭✭✭Vizzy


    I would read this differently to Cass, in that you apply for your unrestricted licence for the 10 22, but you would need to apply for a seperate restricted licence for the NV scope.

    The same as you may have an unrestricted licence for a deer rifle and a restricted licence for, say, a lever action rifle.

    Am I missing something ?



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    Not at all and you are right. You can apply for the unrestricted license for the rifle and a restricted license for the sights but that requires two licenses for the one "firearm" which means possibly incurring two €80 fees. A restricted license for both should cover both in much the same way as a 10 shot rimfire is unrestricted but if you want a larger capacity mag you apply for a restricted license even though the rifle is the same caliper the magazine makes it restricted. In short a restricted license does everything a restricted license and unrestricted license does whereas an unrestricted license is only good for unrestricted use.

    This also raises the question of authorisation. Sight appear to be the same as a suppressor in that it's not a separate license but authorisation on your firearms license. So do you need a license or just authorisation and if it's authorisation how does that work if you've an unrestricted license but seeking "restricted" authorisation for the sights.

    Bit of a head ... so-and-so.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 928 ✭✭✭freddieot


    Makes sense but...

    If the NV is legally a restricted firearm in itself, how can it be granted without an application for a restricted firearm.

    To play that out... A restricted firearm can only be approved by a Chief Super. Just ticking the scope box on an application for an unrestricted rifle would mean that a local Super would be handling the application.

    The unrestricted or restricted status of the application is as we know the responsibility of the applicant. However, the recent letter from AGS on the scope issue shows they are aware of the confusion. Note they did not require or clarify that the entire application must be for a restricted firearm. That was their clear best opportunity.



  • Registered Users Posts: 427 ✭✭hiddenmongoose




  • Registered Users Posts: 928 ✭✭✭freddieot


    There is another thread on this anout one page back..



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,956 ✭✭✭✭Grizzly 45


    TBH ,this is now AGS/DOJ bolting the stable door after the horses have long departed and been turned into glue at the knickers yard and the barn has fallen down.

    With the advent of cheap Chinese electronics and companies like Aliexpress etc. Anyone with 450 euros can now buy a relatively good NV unit that clips onto the front /rear of a day scope and can be removed in seconds and used as a hand-held spotting scope The idea that people are solely buying these in dealerships in Ireland is ridiculous, and there is nothing to stop you from hopping in a plane,flying to the UK or Germany and buying one with cash and be home within 24 hours with one.

    You would literally have to be caught in flagrant with the unit mounted on a scope on a firearm for a prosecution to stand, and at the moment it is also questionable they are "restricted firearms" as that category of firearms came in only in 2006/08 legislation. Also, anyone who has one legally licensed is now going to have an illegal firearm per se as authorization for a restricted firearm is in the Cheif Supers domain of licensing.

    Also,if the DOJ want to claim a "rise in restricted firearms" a direct question for a breakdown of what kind of restricted firearms" by any TD in a Dail question would be interesting...Seeing the DOJ can't tell accurately how many semi-auto rifles are in the country. When asked for a breakdown and "night vision devices" come up as the rise of restricted firearms...And not knowing exactly how many of these deadly night vision units are out there either since 1990...People in the opposition are going to be asking seriously what kind of gobaloons do we have in power or in departments that put bits of electronics and glass tubes down in the same category of 9mm handguns?

    This will be exactly like the Drones licensing by the IAA.You must license them,but it will be impossible to enforce unless you either [1] do something daft with it or [2] Are caught with it

    "If you want to keep someone away from your house, Just fire the shotgun through the door."

    Vice President [and former lawyer] Joe Biden Field& Stream Magazine interview Feb 2013 "



  • Registered Users Posts: 276 ✭✭kunekunesika


    I suppose the big question for us law abiding types is, how do we proceed? I was so close to purchasing a nv unit. Hadn't submitted my letter to the local station. Having it stamped as NV on my existing license seems reasonable, and doesn't bother me at all. Applying for a separate license, for 80euro, seems ott. How would it be counted for security requirements etc...

    I know stuff like this happens sometimes, with other legislation (rarely). But being caught in possession of an illegal firearm doesn't have a great ring to it.And the powers that be, have form for showing zero tolerance to law abiding types ( remember the stock saga last year????)



  • Registered Users Posts: 117 ✭✭itisnotgrand




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  • Registered Users Posts: 757 ✭✭✭Uinseann_16


    The stock saga was actually a member of an Garda siochana who they tried to persecute for importing a chassis he brought it to court and won...



  • Registered Users Posts: 528 ✭✭✭BSA International


    Some of us can't get a moderator atm 🙄 don't know will the Super allow NV & he's reportedly cutting ammo allowances on renewals and only giving 100 rounds on licences. Commissionera Guidelines says average for all licences should be 250 ......


    And this is before the hatchet job consultation has even made a report. Me thinks the changes are already decided & some are already bring implemented. Unfortunately, nothing can be proven 😕



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,428 ✭✭✭garrettod


    Hi Cass,

    Dare I ask....

    What exactly is a "handheld unit mounted to a firearm"?

    If I sellotape a torch to a mounted scope, does that now get captured under these "new" rules?

    (not trying to "extract the Michael" here, btw)

    Thanks,

    G.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,428 ✭✭✭garrettod


    Hi,

    When did you get that letter, please ?

    I haven't received one, which begs the question are they still issuing them? If so, we potentially have tens of thousands of licence holders who know nothing about this.

    Thanks,

    G.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    A torch is not light amplification sight. So no.

    A handheld device is a handheld thermal imager, NV unit , etc. Perfectly fine to have once it's handheld only. As soon as it's attached to a it requires authorisation.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,956 ✭✭✭✭Grizzly 45


    I suppose the big question for us law abiding types is, how do we proceed? I was so close to purchasing a nv unit. Hadn't submitted my letter to the local station. Having it stamped as NV on my existing license seems reasonable, and doesn't bother me at all. Applying for a separate license, for 80euro, seems ott. How would it be counted for security requirements etc...


    Buy it and put in the application. At the current minute, the law governing this is the offensive weapons act 1990. Which states this is an authorisation by a superintendent. Whether this is the correct law or whatever, or whenever it is going to change is not of concern.it is THE LAW as it stands right now,which they must work with.

    Them demanding it is a restricted item and putting everything on hold including sales on gun dealers "pending consultations with the Department of Justice".Is stalling and contrary to the statute law.

    I'd advise anyone contemplating buying one to do so now and put in the paperwork with their next renewal or application right here and right now.They opened this particular can of worms on themselves and us.Let them sort out the paperwork themselves.

    "If you want to keep someone away from your house, Just fire the shotgun through the door."

    Vice President [and former lawyer] Joe Biden Field& Stream Magazine interview Feb 2013 "



  • Registered Users Posts: 14,956 ✭✭✭✭Grizzly 45


    I got my FO to make enquiries about this letter up in the Park.

    It was apparently some local Super trying to do the logical, and decent thing in his division and help out. It isn't unfortunately a NATIONAL letter to all divisions to fix a problem of their own making.

    From my fO, the status is all divisions are to CEASE issuing any authorisations for NV unless you have a RESTRICTED license to start off, pending consultations with the DOJ.

    IOW now a complete and utter clusterfuk!

    "If you want to keep someone away from your house, Just fire the shotgun through the door."

    Vice President [and former lawyer] Joe Biden Field& Stream Magazine interview Feb 2013 "



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    1990 Offensive weapons act, not 1991. Specifically section 4(g).

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  • Registered Users Posts: 560 ✭✭✭Asus1


    It does seem to be making a problem out of something that up until now was not a problem,unless there is stuff happening that the general public don't hear of.I wonder is it to do with poaching that this has come up now,even though I'm doubtful if the poachers will look to licence them.I use a pard for my vermin control,it's so useful as you're not scanning a torch around fields which in turn would probably have calls to gardai about trespassers.The amount of fox I'd shoot I'd say would massively drop.



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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 28,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cass


    I don't believe it's anything as "accidental" as someone noticing it. I believe its Minister Browne and his FEC reviewing all aspects of firearms licensing and when he "finds a scab" he is picking at it. I could be wrong but it too coincidental the timing of this and the continued reviews being carried out by the FEC.

    As said earlier the scab he found is the lack of enforcement of current legislation, lack of knowledge of the shooting community and AGS regarding this topic and the ever present desire by any sitting Government to "get guns off the streets" because make no mistake any such sights taken from people will be recorded as a gun removed as they have done in the past with gun safes, individual rounds of ammo, etc. to increase stats.

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