Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

European Parliament Takes Initial Steps on EU Gun Control Measures

Friday, March 18, 2016

European Parliament Takes Initial Steps on EU Gun Control Measures

Since we last updated readers to the European Union’s efforts to enact further gun controls, the transnational government has continued the process of enacting stringent new restrictions across the political bloc. However, recent developments indicate that the final legislation could be dramatically different than the draft measures proposed by the European Commission. While any further additions to Europe’s already onerous gun control regime is unwarranted, some of the European Parliament’s proposed changes to the draft legislation, if adopted, would make the new rules somewhat less onerous. Unfortunately, other areas that the European Parliament seems willing to explore could exacerbate problems with the proposal.

To recap, following the November terrorist attacks in Paris, the EU’s technocratic European Commission expedited plans to alter the European Firearms Directive to require member states to enact severe new minimum gun control measures. While the Firearms Directive is a tool through which the EU regulates and facilitates ownership, use and trade of legal firearms throughout the bloc, the Commission’s proposal used the Directive to propose bans on several categories of firearms and the legitimate activity that makes use of them. These changes were adopted by the European Commission on November 18, 2015. Among the most burdensome provisions is a change that would place popular semi-automatic firearms into the same category as automatic firearms, barring civilian use. Some of the other most egregious changes include new rules governing deactivated firearms, and the imposition of new licensing standards, such as a five-year limit on license validity and medical examinations for prospective license holders.

Following EU legislative procedure, after the European Commission’s adopted the changes, the proposal moved to the European Parliament, which has the opportunity to amend the legislation, adopt it, or eventually reject it. Currently, the proposal is under the jurisdiction of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, led by Chair Vicky Ford of the UK.

Since the proposed changes to the Firearms Directive have come under the more democratic European Parliament’s authority, there have been some mildly encouraging developments. In a February 23 press release that coincided with the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee’s “First exchange of views” on the matter, Ford took aim at the European Commission bureaucrats. Ford noted that the legislation was “poorly drafted,” adding that it “needs a lot of work.”

In preparation for the February 23 meeting, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee drafted a “Working Document” that offers a number of options for altering the European Commission’s proposal. At the outset, the document takes issue with the European Commission’s lackluster justification for the proposal. A portion of the introduction notes:


It is important to recognise that the vast majority of owners of firearms in the EU do not present any danger to the public. Any changes to the 1991 Directive must be necessary, proportionate and targeted. The absence of an impact assessment is problematic since it is unclear which problems have been identified and what the evidence is for how they should best be addressed.


In addressing the European Commission’s proposal for re-categorizing “Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble' weapons with automatic mechanisms” from “Category B – Firearms subject to authorization” to “Category A – Prohibited firearms,” the document lists a number of options. Most encouraging is the option to reject the proposed change in categorization.

Another proposed alternative, meant to pacify nations that rely on a reservist or militia system of national defense, is to make clear that individuals acting in such a capacity would be exempt from further restrictions. There was some concern that the proposal could even effect the storied citizen militia of non-member Switzerland. Also contemplated were options to allow for these semi-automatic firearms to be placed into Category A, but then clarifying specific instances where a member state may authorize an individual to possess these firearms, or keeping these firearms within Category B but enacting more stringent licensing, training, or storage requirements specifically for these types of guns.

Another option focused on narrowing the definition of semi-automatic firearms subject to Category A restrictions. The European Commission proposal simply shifts the current Category B definition, “Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble' weapons with automatic mechanisms,” to Category A. The following definitions were offered as alternatives:


i. "firearms and ammunition specially designed for military use" (cf Art 3(b) of Regulation 258/2012),

ii. "centrefire semi-automatic rifled long firearms specially designed for military use",

iii. "Semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms except in the case of firearms for hunting or for target shooting, for persons entitled to use them",

iv. "semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms, except where specially designed for hunting or target shooting",

v. "semi-automatic long firearms for civilian use which have or can be equipped with a firing capacity exceeding 6 rounds without reloading, or which otherwise are constructed in a way that they are more appropriate for combat than for hunting".


While some of these offer a better alternative than the current language, one might imagine how a creative interpretation of these options would severely burden law-abiding gun owners.

Also explored were the European Commission’s proposals on altering minimum licensing requirements, and the European Parliament’s initial response should give gun owners pause.

The European Commission’s proposed changes noted, “Member States shall provide for standard medical tests for issuing or renewing authorisations… and shall withdraw authorisations if any of the conditions on the basis of which it was granted is no longer met.” The working documents lists the option of eliminating the “standard medical tests” language from the proposal, but goes on to give the alternative of requiring states to “implement continuous monitoring to ensure that the conditions under which an authorization was granted continue to apply.” The document goes on to suggest, “Aspects [member states] could consider for a system of monitoring include appropriate medical and psychological testing, time-limited licenses, in particular for certain categories of firearms, verification of the continued need for possessing a firearm and continued practice in its use etc.”

Moreover, the document suggests exploring several significant gun control measures that the European Commission did not directly touch upon in their proposal. The document invites views on whether:


iii. controls on large capacity magazines would contribute to public safety, e.g. by permitting them only for recognised target shooting organisations, on condition that the magazines are kept by those organisations and only possessed under their control on their ranges,

iv. to introduce minimum requirements for safe storage of firearms (as 20 [member states] already have) and whether such storage requirements should correspond to the level of risk or danger posed.


The document also seeks further information on whether to enact ammunition controls that,


i. introduce a possibility for dealers and brokers to refuse suspicious transactions (e.g. involving quantities unusual for private use) and an obligation to report attempted such transactions,

ii. clarify that only ammunition for the specific firearm/s held can be acquired.


On March 15, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee held a hearing on the proposed revisions to the Firearms Directive. The panels included a presentation on behalf of  the European Institute of Hunting and Sporting Arms, the Italian Association of Manufacturers of Sporting and Civilian Firearms and Ammunition  (IEACS & ANPAM) and the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU (FACE). Echoing past U.S. gun control battles, FACE’s presentation correctly took issue with the Europoean Commission proposal to “ban a firearms category based on its appearance rather than on functionality characteristics.” The group went on to note that the current proposal will “trigger a sliding scale of future bans of semi-automatic configurations.”

Following the hearing, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee will develop a draft report on the legislation, set to be considered on April 20. As always, NRA will continue to monitor any developments in Brussels and report the latest to our members.

TRENDING NOW
Ontario Latest Province to Snub Trudeau’s Gun Grab – “Ontario Should Not Be Spending Taxpayers’ Money Towards the Program”

News  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Ontario Latest Province to Snub Trudeau’s Gun Grab – “Ontario Should Not Be Spending Taxpayers’ Money Towards the Program”

The wheels are coming off the mandatory “assault weapon” gun ban and confiscation scheme that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched four years ago.

Hawaii Justices “Declare War” on U.S. Supreme Court, to the Cheers of Anti-Gun Media

News  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Hawaii Justices “Declare War” on U.S. Supreme Court, to the Cheers of Anti-Gun Media

In Hawaii, a man who was peacefully carrying a pistol for his own self-protection while on a nature hike was arrested and subject to felony prosecution under state laws that generally confine the possession of ...

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, NRA backed constitutional carry legislation, on a 28-10 vote. The bill will next be considered in the House. Please contact your state representative and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1.

Colorado: Semi-Auto Ban Introduced in General Assembly

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Colorado: Semi-Auto Ban Introduced in General Assembly

Anti-Gun extremist State Reps. Tim Hernandez (D-04) and Elisabeth Epps (D-06) introduced House Bill 24-1292, a bill banning the manufacturing, importing, purchasing, selling, offering to sell, or transferring ownership of so called “assault weapons”. 

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

On Monday, House File 3570 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy and would ban so called “assault weapons” by expanding upon an existing statute used to define these firearms. The bill ...

Trump Rallies the 2A Faithful in Pennsylvania

News  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Trump Rallies the 2A Faithful in Pennsylvania

On Friday, February 9, President Donald Trump took the stage at the NRA Presidential Forum held in Harrisburg, Penn., to the approving cheers of the thousands in attendance.  

Louisiana: Senate Committee Passes Constitutional Carry – Take Action Now to Contact the Next Committee

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Committee Passes Constitutional Carry – Take Action Now to Contact the Next Committee

Today, the Senate Judiciary C Committee passed constitutional carry legislation, Senate Bill 1, by a 6-1 vote. It will now head to the Senate Revenue and Fisal Affairs Committee for a hearing tomorrow, February 21, ...

Tennessee: Numerous Anti-Gun Bills are Slated for Action

Monday, February 19, 2024

Tennessee: Numerous Anti-Gun Bills are Slated for Action

This week, numerous anti-gun bills are scheduled for committee hearings in the Volunteer State. NRA Members and Second Amendment supporters must stay engaged this legislative session to help protect your rights in the Volunteer State! 

2024 SESSION OF THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE COMES TO AN END

Thursday, February 15, 2024

2024 SESSION OF THE NEW MEXICO LEGISLATURE COMES TO AN END

The New Mexico Legislature concluded its 30-day session on Thursday at noon.  Gun control dominated the discussion during what was supposed to be a "budget session". NRA-ILA was at the Roundhouse every single day, fighting extremist gun ...

NRA Life Member President Donald J. Trump Speaks at 2024 NRA Presidential Forum in Harrisburg, PA

News  

Second Amendment  

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

NRA Life Member President Donald J. Trump Speaks at 2024 NRA Presidential Forum in Harrisburg, PA

NRA Life Member President Donald J. Trump Speaks at 2024 NRA Presidential Forum at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.