The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström explained: “Every week we get new reports about gun-related violence. However the debate about the illegal use of and illegal trade in firearms in Europe is being conducted in an alarmingly muted way. Often the American debate about the proliferation of guns is more visible although we should be dealing more thoroughly with the situation at home. Here in Europe we must strive to ensure that handguns, rifles and assault weapons do not fall into the hands of criminals”.
And that’s not all; in a press release the EU Commission paints a dramatic picture. In the whole of the European Union “more than a thousand people are killed each year by firearms”. In addition, the whereabouts “of half a million guns that have been reported missing or stolen in the EU” are unaccounted for.
That sounds almost like civil war conditions in Europe, i.e. a gross exaggeration. In spite of this, no one objects if the policy against the illegal arms trade and possession goes ahead.
But in reality much more is involved. The EU Commission is planning stricter European gun laws with many new restrictions. Although the Commission maintains it does not want to touch “traditional legitimate purposes such as sport shooting and hunting”, the paper reads quite differently on closer inspection. New EU standards are to govern “which firearms may be sold for civilian purposes, how firearms should be marked and how permits for the possession and use of firearms are to be granted.” Alongside more strict regulations for deactivating firearms, the intention is also to test a compulsory introduction of biometric security systems for firearms. In addition, upper limits on the amount of ammunition that can be stored for legitimate civilian firearms are to be introduced. In future, the EU Firearms Directive will also govern the sale and possession of air rifles, replicas (imitation guns), antique guns and ornamental guns.
9 of the EU Commission proposals at a glance
- Semi-automatics are to be severely restricted or prohibited (handguns and long guns)
- Magazines and also other accessories are to become “essential components of a firearm” and thus require a licence to purchase them
- Magazines are to be restricted in capacity (without concrete details)
- Quantities of ammunition (purchase/possession/storage) are to be regulated
- Trade on the Internet for guns and ammunition is to be restricted or prohibited
- Ornamental/ceremonial should be banned entirely when possible
- Soft air and compressed air guns should be more strictly regulated
- In the long term, all legally registered guns are to be secured biometrically
- Central storage is preferred to storage in private homes
Branchen Insider criticises the ideas of the EU Commission: the Commission paper mixes legal arms and legitimate arms trade in an inadmissible way with illegal arms and criminal trade, states a press release by Branchen Insider of 24 October. Some planned changes would not bring any additional security but only unnecessary bureaucracy, a further restriction of basic rights and impractical regulations for shooters, hunters, collectors, manufacturers and dealers. Branchen Insider also criticised quite obviously incorrect figures that the EU Commission used in its report. Apart from that, it is also dubious for the Commission to use a survey investigating the subjective sense of security among EU citizens to justify stricter gun laws.
Branchen Insider continued: Suggestive surveys cannot be the basis for serious efforts towards progress in the internal security of the EU states.
But also many other representatives of our hobby have spoken up. Below you will find a corresponding links list detailing many other aspects.
The all4shooters.com appeal:
There is a need to resist plans to tightening the gun laws, as every member state of the EU is required to ratify European law in national law.
If you wish to support the protest, contact the European politicians responsible for firearms and security directly at the following addresses:
DG Home Affairs
Commissioner Cecilia Malmström
Incidentally, the Home Affairs Department is obliged to answer individual citizens’ enquiries within 15 days. So please make the effort to write an individual letter stating why the arguments of the EU Commission are not tenable. This is the only way that we can prevent all further tightening of guns laws.
Useful links on the subject
“The EU wants to tighten up gun laws”:
Link list on the subject
Further interesting articles