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Irish Law on Airsoft

General

According to the 2006 Criminal Justice Act Part 5 “Amendments of Firearms Acts”, Section 26 “Amendments of section 1 of the Principal Act” firearm means an air gun (including an air rifle and air pistol) with a muzzle energy greater than one joule or any other weapon incorporating a barrel from which any projectile can be discharged with such a muzzle energy. Therefore, any device (such as an airsoft device) whose muzzle energy is at or below 1 joule is not considered a firearm and is therefore legal to import, retail, purchase and operate without restriction and license within the Republic of Ireland. Airsoft devices fall under the definition of “projectile toys” under the definitions set by European standards.

There is a growing concern among gardaí about the existence of these guns on the streets and the potential for a member to mistake one of these guns for a real firearm. As stated in Firearms act, 1925-1970 regarding Powers of members of the Garda Síochána: “Any member of the Gárda Síochána may stop and search and may also arrest without warrant any person whom he believes to be in possession of or to be using or carrying a firearm or ammunition in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act, and may search any such person, and, whether arresting him or not, may seize and detain any firearm or ammunition in his possession or used or carried by him.” Therefore, there is a huge emphasis to do not carry airsoft guns in public at any time. When transporting, or in the possession of replica firearms Garda Síochána advise that handlers should always act with due care and discretion so as to avoid the possibility of causing any form of distress to any member of the general public. Mishandling of Replica Firearms which, intentionally or otherwise, causes alarm to a member of the general public is classed as assault and will be viewed as such in the eyes of the law. An Garda Síochána will always treat replica firearms with the same prejudice as actual firearms.

According to Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 it is an offence to possess a realistic imitation firearm in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.  “Realistic imitation firearm” (RIF) means a device that appears to the ordinary observer so realistic as to make it indistinguishable from a firearm. “Public place” includes any highway and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise, and includes any club premises and any train, vessel or vehicle used for the carriage of persons for reward.
A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable:
on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or to both, or
on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both.
On and after the date of commencement of Section 40 of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 it is an offence for a person to sell a realistic imitation firearm to a person under the age of 16 years.
In Ireland, the law says that to point a firearm at someone is to commit an act of assault. It does not matter if the firearm is real. In other words, point a airsoft gun at someone, and if they believe it is a real gun, you have broken the law.

 

Safety

Safety is the primary concern of any responsible players of Airsoft. It is also an inherent feature of the device design and equipment used during skirmishes. The impact of an Airsoft round may sting sharply for a few seconds and can leave a small bruise or red mark if it hits bare skin. Despite the 1joule limit takes into account the resilience of the human eye, we suggest to wear protective goggles or ballistic glasses. We also recommend to use a half or full face masks to protect face and teeth.
We would strongly advise those playing the sport to present a very positive image for the sport! To make it possible, please follow rules that are widely accepted by the community of players and are in accordance with the Irish law:
Please do not carry or use airsoft guns in a public. It is a good safety practice to have magazines unloaded outside of a skirmish/simulation environment.
Never leave a weapon where an unsupervised child can access it.
Always store equipment properly after use. Consider storing your equipment in a bag or hard case that can be locked.
You are also responsible for the safe and legal transportation of your Airsoft equipment. During transportation disconnect any batteries that power your Airsoft guns and unload your magazines and store them separately from the weapons, secure all equipment in bags and cases and place them in the boot of your car. It is advised to do not transport your airsoft guns in the passenger area.



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