A strong warning has gone out to the public about the dangers of pellet guns falling into the wrong hands after three children were injured following an incident in Arva.
It’s believed the trio purchased the replica gun for as little as €5 from a seller visiting the town just two weeks ago.
According ot Gardai, two children were initially hospitalised with one youngster later transported to Dublin’s Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital for further treatment.
The Leader understands the gun was sold after Arva’s 56th Agricultural Show Day came to a close.
Organisers of the show had issued a stern reminder to traders not to sell any imititation firearms in the lead up to the July 28 event and therefore the item was not on sale at the show.
Garda sources believe the toy gun was purchased after the show unbeknownst to those organising what was an otherwise successful occasion.
But because the plastic weapon and others like it are not deemed to be illegal, there is little the Gardai can do to crack down on their growing popularity among youngsters.
“We would just be asking people to be mindful,” said a spokesperson earlier this week.
That concern is also mirrored by the fact guns, like those t the centre of the recent Arva incident, are difficult to distinguish from the real thing.
Despite their growing demand, it is, nontheless an offence to have one in a public place under the Criminal Justice Act of 2009.
Offences of that nature can carry a punishment of up to a year in prison and a fine of up to €5,000.
The Department of Justice set up a register to license the sale of ‘Airsoft’ pellet guns -- plastic imitations of handguns and rifles -- that are being legally sold across the country in 2011.
However, no law has so far been enforced making their possession illegal.