Garda seizures of illegal firearms on the decrease
on 21/02/2013 00:00:00
The highest number of seizures was in 2006 when 1,009 were detained and it remained above the 800-mark until 2011 when there were just 737 seizures.
By 2012, the figure had fallen to just 595.
In all between 2005-2012 there were almost 7,000 firearms were taken from people. In one haul alone last year, an AK-47 assault rifle, a sub-machine gun, an automatic rifle, a bolt-action rifle, a pistol, and three magazines of ammunition were seized.
Mr Shatter said a "strategic goal" in the Garda policing plan for 2013 was to "confront serious crimes in all its forms, including armed crime".
"Gardaí employ multi-disciplinary, intelligence-led approaches to ensure the activities and resources of individuals and groups involved in all such criminal enterprises are effectively targeted," he said.
Mr Shatter said very serious penalties had been introduced for firearms offences and the Government was keeping the Firearms Acts under review "in the interests of public safety and law enforcement".
He also pointed out that weapons and explosives offences had fallen by 17.4% in the Central Statistics Office's most recent crime statistics.
Weapons offences do still appear to be high compared to 2005. In that year there were 2,560 weapons and explosives offences. The figure rose to 4,099 in 2010 before falling to 3,484 in 2011.