Crossbows now legal in Ireland

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Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby sabrewolfe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:11 am

So apparently a recent change in the firearms act (the same that allows airsofting) has meant that a previous grey area in firearms legislation has been sorted, it is now legal to own a crossbow in Ireland provided you have an appropriate firearms licence. According to the department of justice http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Informati ... ensing.doc

"Crossbows-
Applications for a firearms certificate for a crossbow (used in archery) can be obtained from the Superintendent of your police district through your local Garda Station. You will be required to complete an application form in the presence of the Garda on duty who will forward your application to the Superintendent and make recommendations on your application. The Superintendent will grant or refuse your application."

So far the only major snag is that the licence must specifiy the serial number and the make of the crossbow which might be a snag for re-enactment. There does seem to be discussion of this elsewhere http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthre ... 2055166928

So my big question is:
Is there a place for the crossbow in Irish re-enactment

and more a curiosity question:
Does anyone have more info on this or know someone who has got one.
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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby bannerman on Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:52 am

Hello Sabrewolf!

I find this really curious - Infact I never knew that crossbows were illegal or even required a lisence that being said I have never owned one. I did however own a fibreglass long bow when I was in the scouts proably around the age of 14 -16 it didnt take many lbs to draw but we had to be very carefull useing it all the same. To get replacement arrows we just walked into the nearest sports shop and bought them no lisence no nothing! Being teenagers we never gave any thought to lisences or anything like that, neither apparently did the sports shop owners nor any gardai we ever encountered. It was the same when we bought black widow catapults - we never used any of the above as offensive weapons to damage property or menace people and as such we were left alone.

I presume that the crossbows your talking about would have to be lisenced under the "Firearms Act 1925 - 2000" If I recall the act is vague in some places, infact dosent it make exemptions at one point for firearms held as a curiosity or because of their antique nature? For the pourpose of the act isnt a firearm described as anything which fires a propellant? - as one lisenced firearms dealer said to me "That seems to me to cover anything from a shotgun to a crossbow to a peashooter" I havent the act infront of me to quote directly from it.

"So far the only major snag is that the licence must specifiy the serial number and the make of the crossbow which might be a snag for re-enactment." - I have seen lisenced black powder muskets which have " musket by, unknown" on their firearms certificate so I dont imagine it would pose too much of a problem. Obviously the state is thinking of crossbows for sporting pourposes which would presumably all be of known make and possibbly serial number.

The fee for a lisence in E 38, with every subsequent lisence costing E 6 - if I remember correctly, and they have to be renewed on the 31st of July each year.

With regards to the historical use of crossbows I presume they would have come in with the Normans in 1169? No?

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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby sabrewolfe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:18 pm

well recently they did tidy the act up a bit basically anything that has a force of over 1joule when it hits the target is a firearm regardless of what it is, the original description was if it discharged a electrical field irritant chemical or gas or any form of projectile. Longbows in theory are still a grey area as I have tried previously to get a licence for one and the cop said to me that it was like this-

"we dont give them out for longbows basically if you are using it for a sport or legitimate purpose and going to or from same you have no problem its sports equipment but if you start acting the bollox and point it at someone or threathen them then its a firearm and you will be charged accordingly."

I find the black powder musket thing interesting though as i was concerned about the serial number issue which I thought they would be strict on due too proliferation(sp) of firearms, very curious now as too how it might work getting a combat safe crossbow for re-enactment (if this is even possible) or failing that a live one with all the associated gun safes and the likes for doing displays.
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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby bannerman on Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:58 pm

"very curious now as too how it might work getting a combat safe crossbow for re-enactment (if this is even possible) or failing that a live one with all the associated gun safes and the likes for doing displays."

I presume if you had a rubber tipped bolt- like the rubber tipped arrows fired at shield walls in combat displays it would be relatively safe depending on the amount of force / lbs. / tension in the crossbow.

With regard to "gun safes" I believe these are only needed for rifles capable of taking very high velocity rounds. I rented a house after a guy who worked in the national parks and wildlife service who had a .22 rifle capable of shooting very high velocity rounds which he used for culling animals as part of his work. He needed a gun safe for that bolted into the wall of the house. But I dont believe you are required to have a gun safe for a shot gun etc...

Again best to get advice from your local garda station and keep everything legal and above board on the lisencing and storage.
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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby knightofredemption on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:55 pm

Our group has one made by Boyd Rankin, looks the biz but very low power. With rubber tipped bolts it has far less impact than a 25lb long bow. As such it could be used at quite close range to great visual effect against someone protected with no more than moderate padding.
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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby nathan on Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:14 pm

low poundage crossbows are easy enough to make and i agree can look very good. i think i have seen videos of them being used on the field in hasrings before. my main concern is how is a crossbow to have a serial number if it is hand made and also what type of crossbow needs a license or do all. or example made for you in someones back garden i have used a number of bows and have a few myself and since i first started using them when i was 12 i was very careful with thm even though my first few were very very weak. i have always wanted a crossbow and steared clear due to the vaguness of the law as i dont want to get in trouble and not know why. it seems that its still just as vague. and the one joule thing i find silly i have been in many archery clubs and im sure most bows have more power than that. plus if u had a good arm u could throw a spear with that much power :D all i know is the law is still unclear and until it makes sense im going to keep clear of crossbows.
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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby sabrewolfe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:48 pm

Well as Padraig said he has seen black powder muskets with no serial numbers and no stated manufacturer being given firearms certs. The whole one joule thing was too make the law more defined in regards to projectile weapons,The ammendment to the 1990 version of the act went as follows

[GA] Extension of Firearms Acts to crossbows and stun guns. 4.—(1) In the Firearms Acts, 1925 to 1990, "firearm" means—
�GA] ( a ) a lethal firearm or other lethal weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged;

[GA] ( b ) an air gun (which expression includes an air rifle and an air pistol) or any other weapon incorporating a barrel from which metal or other slugs can be discharged;

[GA] ( c ) a crossbow;

[GA] ( d ) any type of stun gun or other weapon for causing any shock or other disablement to a person by means of electricity or any other kind of energy emission;

[GA] ( e ) a prohibited weapon as defined in section 1 (1) of the Firearms Act, 1925 ;

Yes being technical and pedantic you should need to get a firearms licence for a longbow as well but the gardai seem too be leaving that vague for their own purposes which seem to be less paperwork for legitimate longbow archers and the ability to come down hard on anybody who is out too cause trouble. The main changes in the firearms act were too be fairly rigid about what classed as a firearm or offensive weapon as the previous wording left alot too be desired. Perhaps a re-enactment archery group should make a official request too a superintendant for clarification as too the position of bows used for combat which are of limited poundage versus something that would punch through plate steel.
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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby bannerman on Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:32 pm

"Well as Padraig said he has seen black powder muskets with no serial numbers and no stated manufacturer"


If you read my above post it says:

[
quote"I have seen lisenced black powder muskets which have " musket by, unknown" on their firearms certificate" ]

Sorry im just being pedantic but they usually have a serial number or else are given one at the time of lisencing.

"a lethal firearm or other lethal weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged" - Irish iron age style sling shots? :lol:
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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby the_power on Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:42 pm

bannerman wrote:I find this really curious - Infact I never knew that crossbows were illegal or even required a lisence that being said I have never owned one. I did however own a fibreglass long bow when I was in the scouts proably around the age of 14 -16 it didnt take many lbs to draw but we had to be very carefull useing it all the same. To get replacement arrows we just walked into the nearest sports shop and bought them no lisence no nothing! Being teenagers we never gave any thought to lisences or anything like that, neither apparently did the sports shop owners nor any gardai we ever encountered. It was the same when we bought black widow catapults - we never used any of the above as offensive weapons to damage property or menace people and as such we were left alone.


I really dislike the Irish police attitude of 'Lets have many laws vauge and unenforced, so if we need to harass someone, we can do them for something they didn't know was illegal'. Up until last week, anything that fired a projectile of more than 1 joule - even a strong peashooter - could get you 10 years for possession. It seems that they've been clarified a little.

Crossbows in particular were on the banned list due to gangsters in the UK using them in the 1970s, and never taken off. That said, lots of people bought them, not realising they were as bad as having an AK47, at least on paper. Oh, you certainly need a gun-safe if you have anything classed as a firearm, even an airgun. There were over 100 gun thefts last year in Ireland, and the police are coming down heavy on people with unsecured guns. Though, rumours are that half of guns stolen were taken from gardai!

With regards to the historical use of crossbows I presume they would have come in with the Normans in 1169? No?


Check this; viewtopic.php?f=7&t=642 - they were certainly used in 11thC Viking Dublin. There were finds of 'small spearheads' that are likely too big for arrows and too small for javelins, so could be crossbow bolts in 10thC contexts.

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Re: Crossbows now legal in Ireland

Postby sabrewolfe on Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:57 pm

:oops: my bad misread your post. The perils of quickly reading posts and replying to them whilst in work.
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