The British Association for Shooting and Conservation is warning that the European Union has formally opened the process of rewriting its Firearms Directive, paving the way for fresh clampdowns on the licensed firearms community.
BASC Council member Peter Glenser, a barrister practicing in this area of the law, said: “BASC supports efforts to combat illegal trafficking of firearms, but this is a complex area of the law. The danger of reopening the directive is that amendments could be moved that would be damaging to legitimate shooting sports.”
“These can be malicious and sponsored by those who wish to damage shooting,” continued Glenser. “There can also be proposals which, through ignorance, damage legitimate shooting while trying to improve the law. BASC will be vigilant and ensure that legitimate shooting in the UK is not damaged by this move.”
The move was announced in an EU Council press release issued at 5pm last Thursday. Justifications for the rewrite mentioned in the statement included “increasing cooperation and information exchange in the fight against illicit trafficking of firearms and addressing as a matter of priority the critical issue of deactivation of firearms.”
Worryingly, data sharing was also mentioned, suggesting that the EU wants to transmit lawful firearms owners’ details across national borders to other member states’ police agencies and others.
In the context of Britain’s restrictive firearms laws and the current Law Commission review of them, along with the recent HMIC hatchet job on the licensed firearms community, this generally bodes ill for lawful shooting. The EU is a political union struggling to convince ordinary people of its relevance in an increasingly globalised world. The temptation for EU apparatchiki to flex their muscles and impose new burdens on member states’ populations, as a means of showing how strong the EU is, may prove too much for them to resist.
The EU Firearms Directive was last revised in 2008. EU member states had to transpose the diktat’s measures into domestic law; the directive is binding on countries rather than individual shooters. Nonetheless, measures imposed by the European Commission – an unelected legislative body made up of bureaucrats – cannot be ignored. More accurately, EU member states can only ignore them at risk of kicking up an international diplomatic fuss.