The plans for an European-wide gun ban are still being discussed at the European Parliament, Commission, and Council.
After the latest, shameful attempt to have it "swiftly passed" after the March 22nd Brussels bombing, a hope comes from where the European gun owners' community expected it the least: Great Britain.
And indeed a British Member of the European Parliament − Vicky Ford, President of Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee of the European Parliament (IMCO) − published her draft report on the EU gun ban proposal on March 29th.
Honestly put, Mrs. Ford's draft has its peaks and troughs: on one hand, it would ditch the ban on civilian "Category B7" modern sporting rifles, but on the other hand it would still ban demilitarized firearms (those full-automatic firearms that were permanently converted to semi-auto for civilian sales); on one hand, it would ditch restrictions on replicas and deactivated guns, but on the other hand it would keep collectors within the scope of the Directive; and its formulation concerning the activities regarding the modification of firearms and ammunition components could leave doors open for anti-gun European governments to restrict or ban ammunition reloading.
It's thus all but perfect, but nonetheless it is a better starting point than we could ever expect.
Given the draconian British gun laws and the lack of "sensibility" regarding the needs and rights of gun ownership in Britain; given how the British government is indeed one of the main sponsors of the planned EU gun ban; and given how Vicky Ford and many other MEPs have been (and still are) under a tremendous amount of pressure by their national Governments and by the European Commission and Council to have the EU gun ban passed in the worst possible way; all being considered, Mrs. Ford's document was meant from the very beginning as a compromise between the dictatorial requests of the European Commissions and the rights of the gun owners' community in twenty-eight Member states.
Being a draft, there's still room for improvement: European shooters, hunters, collectors, and gun owners and enthusiasts at large (as well as deactivated guns owners and airsoft owners) should keep up the pressure on their MEP − particularly on IMCO members − to have the draft modified for the best rather than for the worst, as the European institutions would like. The Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the European Union will meet next April 11th, and we can expect that they will somehow try and act in that direction.
Speaking of bad news, instead, we should point out the answer to a Parlaimentary question, published on March 31th by Elżbieta Bieńkowska − the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs − concerning the proposed restrictive amendment to the European firearms directive.
Not only has Mrs. Bieńkowska rehearsed the well known lies in terms of gun crime, murders and thefts to support the EU gun ban proposal; she also mentioned associations such as FESAC (whose name she can't write right!) FACE and FIREARMS UNITED among the stakeholders involved in the study that back the EU gun ban plans.
Of course she avoided to mention that the opinions of those stakeholders were sistematically ignored, in favour of the false and misleading data fabricated by NGOs and European entities such as the EESC that support the ban.
FIREARMS UNITED clarified its position with a post on its Facebook page: the organization was "asked as a stakeholder", but didn't take part in the study, and all its suggestions and proposals were outright ignored.
The circus of lies and misinformation continues, as the European Commission and other supporters of the EU gun ban show day after day to what extent they're willing to go to disarm the law-abiding citizens of Europe.
On the French front − as we know, the French Government is an outright supporter of the planned ban − French Minister of Home Affairs Bernard Cazeneuve met on March 31st with Thierry Coste, President of the "William Tell Committee" that represents (or should represent) gun owners, shooters, hunters, gun shops, distributors, and manufacturers all around France.
After the meeting, the French Ministry of Interior published a press release that basically contradicts all reassurances given by the Comité Guillaume Tell to the French shooting community before March 31st; according to the Ministry, the Comité Guillaume Tell would have agreed to work on a platform that includes the "prohibition of certain particularly dangerous semi-automatic firearms, particularly those built after full-automatic guns".
It's now adamantly clear to French and European shooters how the Comité Guillaume Tell betrayed the shooters' community and its own name, siding with those who would rather see the peoples of Europe disarmed.
Who's responsible for this state of being? Definitely a good part of responsibility lies on the shoulders of FFTir (the French Sport Shooting Federation) and its president, Philippe Crochard, who helped Thierry Coste achieve and maintain its position despite being a direct emanation of those distributors who serve the French State administration and those federations that have been authorized by the Ministry of Interior to release hunting licenses and other gun-related authorizations, and that as such have no interest in opposing the French Ministry of Home Affairs.
By himself, Mr. Bernard Cazeneuve is applying the same "divide and conquer" tactics that were explored some weeks ago by Alain Alexis − a DG GROWTH official and one of the main spokesmen and supporters of the EU gun ban plans − who tried to turn the French associations against one another.
The French Ministry of Interior is effectively trying to break the internal opposition front by cheating or persuading some associations to "keep quiet" under threats of retaliation or promises of protection in hopes that they will agree to throw everybody else under the bus.
Our hopes are that the French and European shooters, hunters, and gun owners at large will retaliate with any protest initiative they will want to adopt in order to force Mr. Coste, Mr. Crochard and Mr. Cazeneuve to face their responsibilities and to spur the associations that should defend our rights to act against the will of the anti-gun governmental authorities, whatever the cost may be.
Simply put: those who hoped in a swift and positive conclusion of will have to wait and suffer for several more months. The IMCO committee is slated to discuss the matter up until June; the final vote in the committee may very well be postponed from late June to September, while the final decision of the European Parliament as a whole is still "TBA".
In the meanwhile, the proponents and supporters of the EU gun ban plans have not given up yet, and you can be sure that they will try everything they can in the next weeks and months to make massive gun prohibition and confiscation in Europe a reality.
It's thus paramount for the European gun owners community to keep vigilant: organizations are working around the clock and may launch further initiatives in the near future; gun owners from all around the European Union are urged to provide prompt and total support when the time comes.
Of course all4shooters.com is committed to support the fight and keep you all posted, so stay tuned!
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