Irish Gun Laws Don't Seem to Stem Concern Over Gang War

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman, File

The Irish aren't as hostile to guns as their British neighbors are, but that's not saying a whole lot.

To get a gun in Ireland, it seems simple. You get a certificate that's little different from a permit-to-purchase you'll find in some states.

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However, that's really where the similarities end. In Ireland, you have to have a reason to want a gun, a safe place to shoot it, a "safe" place to store it, and allow the police to view your medical records, among other things.

In other words, it ain't easy by any stretch, and even shooting things like IPSC or IDPA are forbidden with real firearms.

And yet, in Dublin, they've got a problem that involves criminals shooting one another.

Fears are growing of an all-out gang war in the capital after two gun attacks on homes in the space of 24 hours.

Gardai are on high alert after the latest shootings in the south of the city which came after a spate of violent incidents in recent weeks. Local people said it is a miracle no one was killed or seriously injured after a house on Errigal Road in Drimnagh was hit by gunfire in the early hours of Friday morning.

Two young children were inside the house at the time but while they were shocked they were not hit by the gunfire. A second shooting took place in Bluebell on Friday night and gardai confirmed they are investigating both incidents. The shootings come just two weeks after the killing of Josh Itseli who was a member of a street gang of young, violent drug dealers operating in the south of the city.

A source told the Sunday Mirror that there are likely to be reprisals. A source said: "This will lead to more deaths. It's not over, it's just a matter of time before there's another attack. The way this is going, it's highly likely more deaths will occur."

In recent days there have been a number of tit-for-tat shootings in the Drimnagh and Bluebell area. A man was also stabbed multiple times in broad daylight outside the shops in Bluebell on May 4. The victim was seriously injured but he is expected to recover.

But local people fear that the area is on the verge of a full-blown feud between two rival gangs for control of the cocaine trade. Responding to the latest violent incidents Sinn Fein City Councillor Daithi Doolan urged the Justice Minister to give more resources to gardai. Cllr Doolin said that people no longer feel safe in their own homes and they fear the violence is going to get worse.

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Now, Irish gun laws are nothing to sneeze at and I'm pretty sure "protecting my drug trade business" isn't considered a good reason to issue a certificate allowing someone to buy a gun. Let's just call that a hunch, shall we?

My point, though, is that all the gun laws in the world don't seem to be stopping these reprisals from happening. What's more, the gun ownership rate in Ireland, while not non-existent, isn't remotely on par with the United States. Our gun ownership rate is more than 16 times Ireland's on a per capita basis.

So it's not like all of these guns are being stolen and put into criminal hands.

Then again, these guys are apparently involved in the cocaine trade. The last time I checked, that didn't exactly originate in Ireland, which means smuggling is involved. If you can smuggle cocaine, you can smuggle guns. It's not that different, really, which means the dealers don't have a problem getting firearms.

Meanwhile, any innocent people who find themselves in the crossfire have to hope and pray they're not hurt. They have no opportunity to fight back.

That's how the Irish government wants it.

That's how some people here want it.

And yet, we can clearly see that it doesn't stop criminals from doing awful things.

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