Until recent years the Republic of Ireland had one of the most restrictive regimes on firearms access with the Irish police (An Garda Siochana) consistently refusing to grant certificates for a wide range of guns including handguns, high calibre rifles and shotguns capable of holding more than three cartridges. In 2004 the High Court ruled that this policy was without legislative backing and since then the police began to issue certificates for firearms where the applicant is not disentitled under law from possessing a gun. Set against this backdrop, this paper explores the consequences of liberal gun regimes in the context of access to firearms by those suffering from mental illness and who pose a threat of parasuicide or suicide. Consideration is given to experiences in other jurisdictions and international research on firearm suicide prevention. Finally some recommendations for changes in legislation, policy and protocol in the Irish context are presented. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.