Yesterday’s EU announcement of the precise wording of its draft gun ban, which unelected legislators want to have in force by July next year, has nothing to do with its stated purpose of targeting terrorists. Instead it is a step on the long, slow march towards banning civilian firearms ownership.
Most of the draft directive – which you can read along with UK Shooting News’ commentary – appears to have its roots in Britain’s firearms laws. Certainly the proposal to “harmonise” deactivation standards to put deactivated firearms permanently beyond reactivation comes from Britain – and, it has to be said, is actually very sensible. No sane person wants criminals to be able to reactivate a deactivated firearm and use it to commit murder.
The proposal to ban military-style semi-automatic firearms would be an effective ban on most self-loading pistols and commonly used fullbore semi-automatic rifles, as seen in nations such as Finland and Poland, both of whose governments appear to be opposing the EU ban.
Tragically, UK Shooting News has already seen shooters in Britain trying to claim this is not a big deal because Britain already bans fullbore semi-automatic rifles and the remaining .22″ semi-auto market’s military clone sector is too small to care about.
The most stupid of all the proposals is to ban “semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with [an] automatic mechanism”. This is a feel-good measure that restricts firearms based on form, not function. Surprisingly, British law takes the logical – if misguided – view that function is the thing to restrict, as opposed to the mere appearance of a firm.
Suggestions of mandatory medical testing have not been explicitly raised in the UK. However, the National Police Chiefs’ Council has been mounting a sustained attack on shooters’ privacy, insisting that doctors should become paid informants on shooters by handing over their medical records for unqualified police employees to read. That proposal is intended to load shooters with an extra cost for gaining certificates, as part of the police drive to force people out of the sport of shooting by making it too expensive to get a certificate.
It may well be that mandatory medical tests – as opposed to unrestricted access to sensitive medical records – was ACPO’s long term goal.
Whatever else comes out of the gun ban proposal, European shooters’ associations are reacting angrily. Firearms United, who first spotted the proposal in a Polish newspaper (as reported here on UKSN) has posted many useful links to its Facebook page, while the German Rifle Association is mobilising its members to lobby their MEPs and get them to vote against the ban. FACE, the federation of association of European hunters and shooters, has published a thoughtful essay on why the ban is a silly idea – and, given its previous lobbying and engagement efforts, is a force to be reckoned with.
However, the great danger is that the unelected commissars in Brussels simply ram through the ban against the wishes of millions of people and thousands of businesses. After all, ignoring the wishes of the population was one of the explicit aims of the EU’s architects, in whose collective memory lived the fact that Adolf Hitler’s government was democratically elected into power by a majority. That attempt to avoid one of history’s greatest mistakes has caused untold misery since – and may be about to do so again.