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European Commission to strengthen control of firearms

The European Commission adopted a package of measures to make it more difficult to acquire firearms in the European Union. The proposals were foreseen in the European Security Agenda adopted in April 2015, but have been significantly accelerated in light of recent events.

The package of measures on firearms adopted by the College of Commissioners today includes a revision of the Firearms Directive, to tighten controls on the acquisition and possession of firearms. The Commission proposed to amend the EU Firearms Directive, which defines the rules under which private persons can acquire and possess weapons, as well as the transfer of firearms to another EU country. the changes should implement stricter rules to ban certain semi-automatic firearms, which will not be allowed to be held by private persons, even if they have been permanently deactivated. Tighter rules on the online acquisition of firearms, to avoid the acquisition of firearms, key parts or ammunition through the Internet. Common EU rules on marking of firearms to improve the traceability of weapons. Common criteria concerning alarm weapons (e.g. distress flares and starter pistols)in order to prevent their transformation into fully functioning firearms. Stricter conditions for the circulation of deactivated firearms. Stricter conditions for collectors to limit the risk of sale to criminals. The Commissions also expects better exchange of information between Member States, for example on any refusal of authorization to own a firearm decided by another national authority, and a mandatory interconnection of national registers of weapons.

In addition to the adoption of these stricter rules and standards, the Commission also announced that it is developing an action plan against the illegal trafficking of weapons and explosives.

The proposed amendments which the Commission has tabled today now need to be approved by the European Parliament and Council.

Commission also states that while arms trafficking is mainly a national competence, given the clear cross-border dimension there is a need for stronger police and intelligence service coordination and stronger import checks.


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