The limerickleader.ie tells the tale of two [unnamed] Irish blokes who spent seven years in the Army Reserve. When the rifle shooting competitors applied for licenses for their firearms—an MKE .223 semiautomatic rifle and a Heckler and Koch SL8–Chief Supt David Sheahan sent them packing. “Chief Supt Sheahan said he regarded the MKE .223 semiautomatic rifle to be ‘military in style’ and there was no requirement in target shooting competitions to have such a high-powered gun . . . It was not disputed by the state that both men were of excellent character.” As you read the following account of the court case, keep in mind the various definitions of an “assault rifle” in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, etc. . . .
Det Insp Kevin Brooks, a Garda ballistics expert, told state solicitor for County Limerick Aidan Judge that he had attended the shooting competition in Castlemaine. This was organised according to the rules of the Civilian Marksmanship Programme (CMP), an American programme originally developed to train civilians in the use of weapons so they could be called upon in times of war.
There were a number of differences in the Irish three-position-shoot competition, however, Det Insp Brooks told Judge O’Kelly. One was that Irish competitors were under no time limit in which to get 10 shots off.
“You are not reloading under pressure of time which is an element of combat training,” said Det Insp Brooks. This meant that there was “no requirement for this type of weapon, a semi-automatic centrefire rifles such this” and a marksman with a simple bolt-action rifle would not be at any disadvantage, Det Insp Brooks said.
But Tom MacGowan BL, for the applicants, said that it was far safer for competitors who were in a sitting position to use a semi-automatic as a bolt-action would require changing position, charging the gun, pushing in the bolt and other movements and manipulations of the weapon.
Judge O’Kelly also noted the evidence of an ballistics expert, Seamus O Dromaire, who appeared for the applicants.
He said that the Heckler and Koch was “developed specifically for sporting purposes” with modifications to the trigger and other parts which Judge O’Kelly said “appeared to take it out of the category of the assault rifle”.
All this so that two men “of excellent character” could shoot “military style” rifles at competitions.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly ruled in favor of the competitors, asserting that it was the legislature’s job to ban “assault rifles” for civilians, not Chief Supt Sheahan’s. As for average Irish citizens who wishes to own a modern sporting rifle for self-defense, hunting, target shooting or defense against tyranny, nope. Ain’t gonna happen.
A vision of the future for gun control states? Yes. Yes it is.