EU bureaucrats have decreed that new deactivation standards will come into force from 8th April this year.
The diktat, rubber-stamped into EU law by the EU Commission in December, establishes a set of EU-wide minimum deactivation standards by law.
Classes of firearm covered include pistols, revolvers, rifles, falling block firearms (including lever actions), semi-autos, full autos and muzzle loaders.
The new specifications include rules on permanently fixing magazines in place and deactivating them, a process which need not take place under current UK law but which will become mandatory. If no magazine is present when the firearm is deactivated the magazine housing must be permanently blocked to prevent a new magazine being fitted.
Sound moderators must also be deactivated under the new EU diktat. As well as gutting them and welding them in place, holes must be drilled every 2″ in any empty moderator tube on a deactivated firearm.
Otherwise the specifications (available on the EU website) seem based upon the UK’s current regulations. Despite this, the diktat was signed by Elzbieta Bienkowska, the EU apparatchik who is also behind the bloc’s draconian semi-automatic firearm ban proposal.
An EU approved deactivation certificate will be issued with all new-spec deactivated firearms in place of existing certificates.
The new rules will apply retrospectively to any deactivated firearm which is sold, bartered or given away after the 8th April 2016. Existing de-acs are likely to increase substantially in value before that date – particularly pre-1995 UK deactivated firearms with some remaining moving parts.
UK Shooting News’ author thinks it is entirely likely that pre-1995 UK spec deactivated firearms will command large premiums on the grey and black markets, as there is no realistic way of enforcing these rules on private sales. A cynic may think that the police will now demand owners of old spec deactivated firearms who come to police attention must show proof they owned them before the date of the EU diktat going live, and arrest them for illegal possession of a firearm if proof cannot be produced… but the police are model citizens and would never do such a thing to an honest person.