30 March 2016 – As reported on UK Shooting News, gun ban rapporteur Vicky Ford has formally proposed dropping the bloc’s planned ban on all semi-automatic firearms.
Ford, a British MEP, holds the role of “rapporteur” for the EU gun ban, which is formally known, in the EU’s typically catchy style, as “COM (2015)0750 – C8 – 0358/2015 – 2015/0269 (COD)”, amending existing EU directive “91/477/EEC”.
Yesterday Ford’s changes to the proposed directive amendments (PDF, 58 pages) were published. In it she expressly amended the two key passages that would have banned all semi-automatic firearms, rewording them so they will not affect civilians.
Amendment 19, as proposed by the EU Commission, would have banned “semi-automatic firearms when their capacity regarding the number of rounds is high” [sic]. Ford has changed this to say that firearms converted into blank firers should still be treated as live firearms under the law. No mention of banning remains.
Similarly, amendment 74, in its original EU Commission form, would have banned “semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms”. After Ford’s editing, that amendment will now ban “semi-automatic firearms which have been converted into automatic firearms”.
The EU parliament will now forward its recommendation that the EU Commission’s gun ban is dropped to the EU Council, the EU Commission and member countries’ parliaments.
The EU Commission has a history of simply withdrawing its diktats when it looks like even the EU’s Mickey Mouse version of democracy will reject them, only to reintroduce them later on when it thinks it can win. Moreover, the EU’s richer countries – France, the UK and Sweden being chief among them – are firmly in favour of the ban.
The danger has not yet passed, and several troublesome amendments remain on the table – including some that could potentially outlaw home gunsmithing and wildcatting. But for now, the main danger has receded.