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The EU Gun Ban by Juncker's Quislings against Freedom

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Dec 13th, 2016
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  1. [Pasted: 13th December 2016]
  3. Dear Colleagues,
  5. I thought it would be helpful to provide a detailed update on the Firearms
  6. Directive.
  8. European laws on firearms have been in place since 1991. Certain weaknesses and
  9. failings of the existing Directive came to light in the aftermath of recent
  10. terrorist attacks. Last November the Commission proposed a revision, however the
  11. reforms were not balanced or workable for the legitimate gun holder. There was
  12. no majority in the Parliament committee to reject outright the Commission
  13. proposals. Therefore the Parliament has been going through an amendment process
  14. which I have been leading as rapporteur. There is now an agreement in principle
  15. on key elements.
  17. Background The Directive sets out the conditions under which private persons may
  18. lawfully acquire and possess guns or transfer them to another EU country. The
  19. Directive also sets requirements for marking and keeping and sharing of
  20. registers.
  22. Firearm types are defined as Category A,B or C. Category A firearms are
  23. prohibited except for certain types of individuals, Category B firearms need an
  24. “authorisation”, and owners of Category C firearms need to declare their
  25. ownership but do not need authorisation.
  27. Salute and Acoustic Firearms The previous treatment of so called “salute and
  28. acoustic firearms” raised security concerns. These are working firearms
  29. converted to fire blanks. Under the existing Directive in certain countries
  30. these could be sold without authorisations and some were easily re-converted to
  31. live firearms. This type of firearm was used in Paris terrorist attacks. A cache
  32. of over 30 were discovered in the UK in 2015.
  34. The rules covering these firearms will now be tightened. Going forward any
  35. firearm which has been converted to fire blanks must remain licensed under the
  36. same rules as its original live-firing version.
  38. Deactivated Firearms In order to strengthen deactivation regimes, the European
  39. Commission introduced a new Deactivation Regulation which came into force in
  40. April 2016. This sets a single standard for deactivation of firearms. However
  41. technical implementation issues have arisen and some countries are concerned
  42. that the new standard is less secure than their previous national regime.
  43. Following pressure from the Parliament, the European Commission has now
  44. re-convened a Working Group of Experts from the European Member States to review
  45. the Regulation. The Commission has committed that a revision will be completed
  46. by early 2017.
  48. Introduction of the Deac-Reg caused problems for legitimate holders of
  49. deactivated firearms such as historical re-enactors and those involved in film
  50. making etc, as it prohibits them from selling or transferring across borders any
  51. items deactivated prior to April 2016 unless the items are re-deactivated to the
  52. new standard, which is not technically possible in many cases. Following
  53. pressure from the Parliament there will now be a process to assess national
  54. standards in use prior to April 2016. If the standards are accepted by the
  55. Working Group and Commission as “equivalent” then items deactivated to that
  56. previous regime will be able to be bought, sold and transferred without
  57. requiring further modification.
  59. The Commission proposed that all deactivated firearms would become subject to
  60. the same registration and authorisation procedures as firearms. This was
  61. rejected. Instead the negotiations agreed that newly deactivated firearms should
  62. be categorised in Category C and need to be declared to national authorities
  63. while this would not apply to existing deactivated firearms.
  65. Category A The Commission’s original proposal added: Category A6 “Automatic
  66. firearms which have been converted into semi-automatic firearms“ and Category A7
  67. “Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic
  68. mechanisms”
  70. These were both rejected by the Parliament. There is experience that
  71. categorising items based on the subjectivity of “resemblance” creates legal
  72. uncertainty.
  74. Category A6
  76. The Parliament’s initial committee approach was that “Automatic firearms which
  77. have been converted into semi-automatic firearms” should remain in Category B if
  78. the conversion was irreversible and be in Category A only if the conversion was
  79. reversible. The Parliament proposed that the Commission should develop new
  80. technical standards to define which conversions were irreversible. However, the
  81. Commission was not prepared to accept responsibility for preparing technical
  82. specifications on these conversions.
  84. To reach agreement negotiators representing the majority of the Parliament
  85. conceded that automatic firearms converted into semi-automatic firearms should
  86. be Category A but added new authorisation procedures so that, at the discretion
  87. of the Member State, reservists, target shooters and others with special
  88. licences would be permitted to hold these. In addition a grandfathering clause
  89. is added so that existing owners can continue to own, transfer, inherit or sell
  90. these firearms to others who have appropriate authorisation. Again this is at
  91. the discretion of the Member State.
  93. Category A7 Instead of using “resemblance” criteria both Parliament and Council
  94. proposed to add to Category A semi-automatic centre-fire firearms when a
  95. high-capacity loading device is fitted. Firearms have been categorised
  96. depending upon loading capacity already in the current Directive, and the new
  97. rules extend this approach. This only affects firearms which use centre-fire
  98. and not rimfire percussion ammunition.
  100. The categorisation applies when the firearm and magazine is in combination
  101. together, and does not depend merely on whether the firearms is capable of
  102. having a higher capacity magazine inserted. This has been made explicit in the
  103. text for adoption.
  105. Following lengthy negotiations, it was agreed that for long firearms exceeding
  106. 60 cm a magazine with a capacity greater than 10 rounds would be restricted,
  107. while for a short firearm the limit would be at 20 rounds.
  109. Member States will be able to give authorisations for reservists, target
  110. shooters and others with special licences for these firearms. As for those
  111. firearms that now fall under Category A6, there is a grandfathering clause.
  113. Status of magazines/ loading devices Law enforcement authorities in certain
  114. countries pressed hard for restrictions on higher capacity magazines. The
  115. Council approach was to prohibit their possession but this was rejected by the
  116. Parliament as it was considered impractical to enforce. Instead it was agreed
  117. that future acquisitions of loading devices will depend upon showing a valid and
  118. appropriate license, as is already the case for ammunition, so only those with
  119. authorisation to hold category A firearms will be permitted to acquire high
  120. capacity magazines.
  122. People who are found in possession of a high capacity magazine after a
  123. transition period and who do not have a category A authorisation will risk
  124. having their authorisation to hold firearms removed.
  126. Special provisions for ownership Member states will be able to give Category A
  127. authorisations to individuals for the protection of the security of critical
  128. infrastructure, commercial shipping, high-value convoys and sensitive premises,
  129. as well as for national defence, educational, cultural, research and historical
  130. purposes
  132. Museums and collectors: Member states will be able to give Category A
  133. authorisations to recognised museums and in exceptional and duly reasoned cases
  134. to collectors, subject to strict security measures. The collection of ammunition
  135. is permitted.
  137. Target shooters: Member states will be able to give Category A authorisations
  138. to target shooters provided the individual is actively practising for or
  139. participating in shooting competitions. We have worked closely with the
  140. International Practical Shooting Confederation to ensure that the authorisation
  141. covers those entering the sport as well as those already competing. The current
  142. freedom of choice of equipment used by competitors in their shooting disciplines
  143. is not restricted. To facilitate continued participation in international
  144. competitions the rules governing the European Firearms Pass will be updated to
  145. cover firearms, including Category A firearms, held by such target shooters.
  147. Reservists: Armed forces, the police and the public authorities are outside the
  148. scope. The provisions for authorisation for national defence also enables Member
  149. States to issue reservists with firearms.
  151. Switzerland: Language is introduced to cover the Swiss system based on general
  152. conscription which enables the transfer of military firearms to persons leaving
  153. the army.
  155. Film industry: Many film productions in Europe use firearms including
  156. deactivated firearms, purpose-built blank firing firearms as well as live
  157. firearms, usually firing blanks, all depending on the nature of the production.
  158. The Commission initial proposals would have jeopardised this but the Parliament
  159. text has re-instated the ability for special authorisations for the film
  160. industry under strict controls.
  162. Re-enactors: The European Firearms Pass enables legitimate owners to move
  163. firearms across borders. This has been updated to assist historical re-enators.
  165. Private modifications: Hand-loading and reloading of ammunition will remain
  166. permitted. Modifications of firearms for private use are also still permitted by
  167. private owners and not restricted only to dealers or brokers.
  169. Medical systems The existing law states that authorisations are only permitted
  170. for those who “are not likely to be a danger to themselves or others”. The
  171. Commission suggested that medical tests should been needed for each
  172. authorisation and these should be reviewed every five years. However
  173. point-in-time medical tests are not necessarily effective. Instead it was
  174. agreed that each Member State must have a monitoring system to assess relevant
  175. medical and psychological information which they may operate on a continuous or
  176. non-continuous basis. Authorisation will be withdrawn if any of the conditions
  177. on which it was granted are no longer met, or may be renewed or prolonged if the
  178. conditions are still fulfilled. Member States can decide whether or not the
  179. assessment involves a prior medical or psychological test. This does not change
  180. national approaches or introduce new EU-wide requirements for medical testing.
  182. Marking, Registers and Information Sharing The current law requires firearms to
  183. be marked and registered so that each firearm can be linked to its owner. Law
  184. enforcement and Europol noted the risk of sales of parts. Going forward the
  185. essential components of a firearm also need to be marked and registered. To
  186. avoid risk of confusion the main identifier will be the mark affixed to the
  187. frame or receiver. The new marking requirements will not apply to existing
  188. firearms. Firearms of historical importance may not need markings depending on
  189. national law.
  191. To improve information sharing, dealers and brokers will need to inform national
  192. authorities of transfers through electronic means and Member States will share
  193. information on firearms held in their country.
  195. Next steps The provisional deal still needs to be confirmed by the EU member
  196. states’ permanent representatives (Coreper) and by Parliament’s Internal Market
  197. Committee. This is to happen towards the end of January 2017. The draft
  198. directive would then be put to a vote by the full Parliament in a plenary
  199. session in 2017 and formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers.
  201. It was proposed that Member States would have 15 months to transpose the new
  202. rules into national legislation and 30 months to introduce new systems for
  203. sharing of information. Members States may decide to suspend the requirement for
  204. declaring deactivated weapons and prior category D firearms for 30 months from
  205. the entry into force of the Directive.
  207. Thanks
  209. I would like to thank the many organisations who have assisted with technical
  210. advice including International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), The
  211. European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation (FACE), The
  212. Nordic Hunters’ Alliance, Federation of European Societies of Arms Collectors
  213. (FESAC), The Association of European Manufactures of Sporting Firearms, The
  214. British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Deactivated Weapons
  215. Association, Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association, The Royal
  216. Armouries, the Imperial War Museums and the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and
  217. Military History.
  219. With many thanks,
  221. Vicky Ford
  222. Vicky Ford MEP Chairman of Internal Market Committee
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