The European Union’s draft proposals for amendments to its Firearms Directive will be published tomorrow as a response to the Paris mass murders, according to watchdog group Firearms United.
UPDATE: The ban’s terms have now been published. UKSN is turning them into plain English here.
A Polish newspaper article (in Polish) reveals that a source referred to as “PAP” – evidently some kind of shooters’ association, though its exact identity is lost in translation – disclosed the proposals yesterday.
Central to the proposal is a ban on all semi-automatic rifles “similar to that used by the military”. While UK Shooting News is relying on Google Translate, translations of this concept from other reports on the same topic seem to indicate that the EU wants to go down the American route of banning firearms from civilian ownership depending on their looks.
“Which of the EU countries issued a permit for the islamic gun terrorists from Paris?”, Firearms United founder Andrzej Turczyn asked. “None of the terrorists had been able to possess a weapon with a permit. But these laws did not stop the Islamists from committing a hideous crime in Paris. For what reason, therefore, proposes the European Commission now – after the assassination in Paris – limited access to firearms for law-abiding Europeans? Others, like criminals or terrorists, do not pay attention to the law at all.”
Initially, the amendment was planned for next year, but the European Commission over the weekend analyzing the possible reactions to the Paris bombings recognized the need to accelerate the project.
It seems likely that the EU will use the Paris murders as an excuse to bring forward a long-planned ban on semi-automatic rifles. There has been no suggestion from politicians or news media that the murderers used legally acquired firearms.
Polish EU commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska is mentioned by name as being involved with the project. Firearms United appears to believe that Bienkowska may have revealed details of the gun ban push rather than being a driving force behind it.
The Poles are not happy with the EU’s proposals. The newspaper reports:
According to PAP, if Member States agree to the proposal of the European Commission, individuals will not be able to buy (for example) certain types of Kalashnikov (which Polish law permits). To acquire such a semi-automatic weapon that at least the premise is to serve the purpose of sports, but you have to have a permit.
The EU also wants to outlaw internet sales of firearms, which has serious implications for modern business’ ability to trade effectively:
The Commission has also propose tighter control of buying weapons and ammunition in order to eliminate the possibility of trading them through the internet. He also wants to across the EU are the same rules for marking weapons so that it could effectively “follow”, even if you change the owner.
“National registers of weapons would be combined in order to create a pan-European database”, continued the report, which stated that all refusals of grants of firearms certificates would be added to this database. Legitimate collectors will also be targeted by the EU, with increased restrictions on their ability to pursue their hobby.
The EU’s proposals first came to light when the Finnish government announced it would oppose the semi-auto ban proposals. Finland’s population has long had a healthy relationship with firearms in the sporting and defence contexts, with domestic competitions used as a means to encourage reservists to maintain a high standard of marksmanship.
Last week Britain’s NABIS, a police agency which sees itself as a crusader against firearms ownership, hosted a conference of EU law enforcement agencies in Birmingham. Many of the EU’s current proposals have the reek of the British nanny state about them, while NABIS has previously ordered politicians to ignore Parliamentary questions about its activities. Now is the time for rigorous democratic oversight of this agency to ensure its employees’ personal views are not seen by the rest of the world as official UK policy.
Home Secretary Theresa May openly called for the EU to adopt UK-style firearms laws yesterday, in the Daily Express newspaper. May, who once branded her own Conservatives “the nasty party”, clearly has no idea that British firearms laws permit ownership of .22″ semi-automatics and straight-pull conversions of Kalashnikovs.
Read also UKSN’s full take on May’s comments.