The European Commission has publicly confessed that its proposal to ban semi-automatic firearms from civilian ownership, touted as a response to the Paris mass murders, “will not tackle the threat” of terrorism.
Last week the bloc announced plans to ban all semi-automatic firearms that resemble military firearms. In practice this would amount to a ban on virtually all modern self-loading fullbore rifles, as was rushed through in Britain in the late 1980s.
Shooters from all over the continent are writing to their EU parliament members, while associations and representative bodies work on detailed proposals to counter the EU’s knee-jerk reaction.
Semi-automatic rifles are used extensively in competitions held under International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) rules, while semi-automatic pistols are very popular on the Continent. In the UK there is a small but growing market for long barrelled semi-automatic .22″ pistols which conform to the 24″ minimum length rule, some of which are made as visual replicas of modern fullbore pistols. All of these items of sporting equipment would be made illegal for vetted and cleared target shooters and sporting shooters to own and use if the EU gets its way.
It was the European Commission’s social media team who accidentally let the cat out of the bag about the proposed EU ban’s pointlessness in an almost unnoticeable Facebook comment.
Responding to a fed-up Italian who branded the EU’s unelected commissars “a special kind of stupid” for coming up with the plan, the commission’s social media team responded:
This proposal alone will not tackle the threat, but it is an important part of the EU Agenda on security.A shared agenda that will achieve results in the fight against terrorism and cross-border crime only if all actors concerned do more to work better together, including Member States…
The admission is so startling that UK Shooting News has taken a screenshot.
Provided it’s not deleted, you can read the original comment here on the European Commission’s Facebook page.
This confirms what EU shooters knew ever since the ban was announced, complete with its language referring to the Paris mass murders: it has nothing to do with safety and security and everything to do with a pre-planned agenda that does not relate to terrorism.
The Paris murderers* used illegally acquired fully automatic Kalashnikov-type rifles along with suicide bombs. Despite these already being illegal in the European Union, they were able to slaughter nearly 200 innocent people. It is completely unclear what a further ban on lawful firearms will achieve in terms of its public stated purpose.
The EU proposal is, we now know thanks to its officials, completely unrelated to the Paris murders despite that being the official spin – and wouldn’t help stop a copycat attack.
Speaking of official spin, this is the line repeated by the EU social media apparatchiki on their Facebook page:
“The Commission proposes to ban the acquisition of the most dangerous semi-automatic weapons by private persons. The remaining semi-automatic firearms used for hunting or sport shooting can still be owned by private persons subject to authorisation. The proposals were foreseen already in the European Security Agenda adopted in April 2015.”
This is disingenuous and insulting, amounting to “you didn’t stop us in April so shut up now”. The line about remaining semi-automatic firearms disregards the stark truth – which EU commissars are fully aware of – that this proposal amounts to a constructive ban on virtually all common semi-automatic firearms.
As any shooter knows, a semi-automatic firearm is no more dangerous than any other firearm. What differs is the intent of the person behind the trigger. UKSN supports reasonable measures to ensure criminals and the mentally disturbed do not gain legal access to firearms: criminal records checks and strictly limited intrusion into medical records. The EU gun ban proposal instead focuses on the tools rather than the person using them, which is a muddle-headed approach that frankly misses the root of the problem altogether.
Until EU apparatchiks are firmly ordered to drop this ridiculous, knee-jerk and ineffectual initiative, and instead bring forward their stated plans to tackle “the illegal purchase of weapons on the black market; the control of illegal weapons and explosives in the internal market and especially their entry/import into the single market (especially from the Balkan countries or ex-war zones) [and] the fight against organised crime”, we will continue to be made less safe by the European Union.
UKSN urges readers to highlight the EU’s official position to their MEPs when they write to them urging a vote against the gun ban.
* The term for killing lots of people is ‘mass murder’. Glorifying the murderers by giving them the glamorous, fear-inspiring label of ‘terrorist’ is not something UKSN wants to do. These people are criminals and should be referred to as such.