Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

EU Moves Forward with Plan to Restrict Semi-Autos

Friday, June 24, 2016

EU Moves Forward with Plan to Restrict Semi-Autos

While perhaps not the most publicized recent development regarding the European Union, in recent weeks the political bloc has pushed forward with its plans to severely curtail gun rights across its 27 member states. On June 10, the European Council endorsed a version of the proposed changes to the European Firearms Directive pushed by the European Commission late last year in the wake of terrorist violence. The European Parliament still has a chance to weigh in on the issue, with a final vote scheduled for later this year.

In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the EU’s quasi-legislative (and simultaneously executive) branch, the European Commission, expedited plans to set new minimum gun control thresholds for its member states. The centerpiece of the new restrictions is a provision that severely restricts civilian ownership and use of semi-automatic firearms, by placing many of these types of guns in the same category as fully-automatic firearms. Other proposed changes include a new rule placing a five-year limit on firearm license validity, and a requirement for a medical examination for prospective license holders.

The European Commission adopted the proposed changes to EU firearms law on November 18, 2015. The measure is now being considered by the European Parliament, and falls under the jurisdiction of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), led by Chair Vicky Ford of the UK. The European Council, is not a legislative body, but “sets the EU’s policy agenda,” and as such, its decisions can have a significant effect on ongoing legislative efforts. For an overview of the EU’s byzantine legislative procedure, click here.

While Dutch Justice Minister and European Council President Ard van der Steur has touted the European Council’s position as a “fair balance between an internal market for allowed firearms on the one hand and enhancing the security of EU citizens on the other,” the most onerous of the European Commission’s restrictions remain intact, or in some cases have been elaborated upon.

The European Council proposal curtails civilian ownership of semi-automatic handguns and long-guns by placing the following types of firearms and magazines into the same regulatory category as fully-automatic weapons:

short firearms which allow the firing of more than 21 rounds without reloading, if a loading device with a capacity exceeding 20 rounds is part of the firearm or is inserted into it

 

long firearms which allow the firing of more than 11 rounds without reloading, if

a loading device with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds is part of the firearm or is

inserted into it.

 

Loading devices, apt to be fitted to centre fire semi-automatic or to repeating firearms, with the following characteristics:

a) loading devices which can hold more than 20 rounds;

b) loading devices for long firearms which can hold more than 10 rounds.


The proposal provides narrow exemptions for owning these firearms. In order to acquire and possess these firearms, gun owners would need to meet the EU’s definition of a valid “target shooter.” Under the proposal, there are several criteria an individual must satisfy to be considered a “target shooter,” including the following:

a satisfactory comprehensive medical and psychological assessment of the target shooter's reliability… 

provision of proof that the target shooter is participating in shooting competitions recognised by an official shooting sport organisation of that Member State or by an internationally established and officially recognised shooting sport federation

a certificate from an officially recognized shooting sport organisation confirming that:

i. the target shooter is a member of a shooting club and, has been regularly practising target shooting in it for at least twelve months, and

ii. the firearm is necessary for a shooting discipline recognised by an internationally established and officially recognised shooting sport federation 

There is also a minor exemption to the semi-automatic restrictions for countries that employ a militia system for national defense, which would to allow for civilians to possess a firearm used during their term of service.

While various countries have taken issue with certain aspects of the legislation, the Czech Republic and Poland have been staunch opponents of EU efforts to further curtail the rights of their citizens. In a Reuters article published just prior to the European Council adopting their position, Czech Interior Minister Josef Chovanec expressed his concerns. Chovanec noted, “We do not have a problem with the directive as a whole, but we will want to rework it so it does not amount to disarming Czech citizens.” An official with Czech gun rights group LEX, described his countrymen’s opposition to the restrictions by describing a phenomenon that has also been observed in the U.S. The official told Reuters, “Sales of weapons that may be banned are not falling but growing… [t]hose people are certainly not buying them in order to hand them over after the ban.”

As previously noted, it is still up to the European Parliament whether to accept or reject the European Commission’s and European Council’s proposals, or to amend them. On June 14, the European Parliament’s IMCO debated amendments to the current proposals. To date over 1,000 amendments to the legislation have been offered.

According to a media account of the meeting, some committee members described the current legislation as “unworkable,” and Ford contended, “The first text from the Commission was poorly worded and we need to make sure that the legislation is practicable.” MEP Philippe Juvin of France registered his concerns for law-abiding gun owners, stating, “Hunters and shooters are not terrorists. They don't commit terrorist acts and we shouldn't be making life more difficult for these people. What we should be doing is terrorizing the terrorists.” MEP Roberta Metsola of Malta expressed a similar sentiment, cautioning against a “knee jerk” reaction to terror, and noting, “We have to ensure that people like shooters and hunters do not become targets themselves.”

IMCO is set to vote on amendments to the European Commission’s proposal on July 14. Following IMCO’s input, the European Parliament is set to vote on the legislation November 22.

MEP Pascal Durand of France described the current parliamentary battle over gun control as “one of the most sensitive” of the term. The comment reveals that gun owners, regardless of nationality, are a motivated group that cherishes our rights. The concern voiced by several MEPs tasked with scrutinizing the European Commission’s oppressive proposal is encouraging and will hopefully lead to a less restrictive piece of legislation, or an outright rejection of the Commission’s proposal.

TRENDING NOW
Pennsylvania: House Committee to Consider Multiple Gun Control Bills Tomorrow

Monday, June 18, 2018

Pennsylvania: House Committee to Consider Multiple Gun Control Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider several gun control bills that would only punish law-abiding gun owners.

Pennsylvania: House Committee Passes Firearm Confiscation Orders - Schedules Additional Gun Control for Tomorrow

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pennsylvania: House Committee Passes Firearm Confiscation Orders - Schedules Additional Gun Control for Tomorrow

Today, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 2227, legislation that creates so-called “extreme risk protection orders” whereby a hearing would be held, firearms would be seized and constitutional rights suspended with little to no due ...

The Supreme Court Strikes Down Law that Targeted Gun Owners’ Speech

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Supreme Court Strikes Down Law that Targeted Gun Owners’ Speech

The Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law that forbade voters from wearing “political insignias” at polling places after the law was challenged by a voter who was told he must remove or cover his ...

The Rolling Stone Continues its Inaccurate Anti-NRA Reporting

News  

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Rolling Stone Continues its Inaccurate Anti-NRA Reporting

It is by no means a closely held secret that Rolling Stone magazine has aggressively promoted an anti-gun agenda for many decades.  It started in 1980, with the death of John Lennon at the hands of ...

D.C. Area Witches Unite for Gun Control, Hurl Curses at the NRA

News  

Friday, June 15, 2018

D.C. Area Witches Unite for Gun Control, Hurl Curses at the NRA

Gun control advocates can now boast of a new group of allies joining their dubious coalition: witches. It kind of makes sense. We all know that gun control is based mainly on magical thinking. Its advocates, after ...

Delaware: Contact Your Senator Immediately in Opposition to Gun Ban Legislation

Friday, June 15, 2018

Delaware: Contact Your Senator Immediately in Opposition to Gun Ban Legislation

On Tuesday, June 19, the Delaware Senate could consider legislation (Senate Bill 163) that would ban commonly owned semi-automatic firearms in Delaware.

Pennsylvania: Gun Control Legislation to be Considered on the House Floor

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pennsylvania: Gun Control Legislation to be Considered on the House Floor

This morning, the House Judiciary Committee continued its push for gun control by passing House Bill 1872, legislation which would ban many firearm accessories.

Oregon: Gun Ban Initiative Ballot Title Finalized

Friday, May 25, 2018

Oregon: Gun Ban Initiative Ballot Title Finalized

On May 23rd, the ballot title for Initiative Petition 43 was certified by the state Attorney General.  This final ballot title comes after over 1,000 comments were submitted on the previously proposed ballot title.  Initiative proponents will ...

California Farmer Has Guns Confiscated and Faces Felony Charges After Trying to Register Rifle

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, June 8, 2018

California Farmer Has Guns Confiscated and Faces Felony Charges After Trying to Register Rifle

California residents attempting to comply with the Golden State’s ever-increasing swamp of firearms laws and regulations should take warning. According to a report out of Bakersfield, a good faith effort to obey the state’s labyrinthine ...

Not So Breaking News: Trio of Anti-Gun Orgs Rehash Worn-Out Gun Control Policies

News  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Not So Breaking News: Trio of Anti-Gun Orgs Rehash Worn-Out Gun Control Policies

This week the press gleefully reported the anti-gun pronouncements of a trio of diverse special interest groups. The Washington Post announced, “Frustrated [American Medical Association] adopts sweeping policies to cut gun violence.” In a separate ...

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.