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EU Firearms Directive vote during plenary session 14th March 2017

posted 15 Mar 2017, 03:04 by Tony Cattermole   [ updated 15 Mar 2017, 03:04 ]
Members will be interested to see two documents:-
  • The WSFA note to members
  • Vicky Ford’s press release published after the vote.
These cover the situation succinctly. The additional proposed amendments did not go through but those so far agreed were retained.

Next steps are explained below.

Derek Stimpson

TO WFSA MEMBERS

We would like to inform you that a Plenary Session of the European Parliament was held today in Strasbourg (France).

The Firearms Directive was among the issues on the agenda, and MEPs were called to vote on the compromise text previously agreed by the EP and Council last December, and subsequently approved by the IMCO Committee last January.

As a result of the voting, the compromise text was endorsed by 491 votes in favour, 178 against and 28 abstentions.

The draft law still needs to be formally approved by the other co-legislator, the EU Council of Ministers.

Member states will have 15 months from the date of entry into force of the directive to transpose the new rules into national law and 30 months to put in place data-filling systems for registering all information needed in order to trace and identify firearms.

National associations will now play a vital role in order to carefully follow the transposition of the text at national level and avoid further restrictions.

Best regards,
Mauro Silvis


Conservative MEP's report closes firearms loophole exposed by Paris terror attacks

New firearms legislation which imposes restrictions on the type of guns used in the Paris terrorist attacks has today been steered through the European Parliament by Conservative MEP Vicky Ford.

Revisions to the EU's Firearms Directive mean that guns converted to fire blanks will in future be licensed under the same rules as the original live firing version. Currently these are able to be sold freely in certain European countries despite the fact that some versions are easily converted to use with live ammunition.

Other measures tighten the rules on the ownership of semi-automatic weapons fitted with high capacity magazines, require national authorities to keep details needed to trace firearms and improve information sharing between Member States.

Speaking after her report was approved by MEPs by 491 votes to 178, Mrs Ford said: "The attacks on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters and at the Bataclan theatre in Paris exposed a dangerous loophole which allowed poorly deactivated firearms, known as salute and acoustic weapons, to be freely available. A number of similar items were amongst a cache of over 30 illegal firearms found by British police on a boat in a Kent marina in August 2015. Following today's vote, this loophole will be closed.

The European Parliament has spent 18 months scrutinising the issue and Mrs Ford met organisations from the UK and across the EU, including the Countryside Alliance, British Shooting Sports Council, British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the Royal Armouries, the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation and the Nordic Hunters' Alliance.

She said: "It has been a long and difficult process to reach a compromise which protects the public by making it more difficult for terrorists and criminals to get hold of higher capacity firearms while also safeguarding the interests of lawful sports shooters, collectors, re-enactors and other groups.
"It was not helped by the European Commission's original proposals which were very poorly drafted, contained many technical errors and would have had many disproportionate restrictions on legal owners. However, I believe we have now achieved a sensible balance."

Under the new rules, Member States will be able to authorise target shooters to possess and use higher capacity semi-automatic firearms which are otherwise restricted provided they are training for, or taking part in, competitions. The changes have been drawn up in collaboration with sport shooting organisations, including the International Practical Shooting Confederation.

Exemptions are also made for military and civil defence personnel, especially in countries such as Finland, where reservists traditionally own their firearms and keep them at home.

Museums, military re-enactors and even film companies, whose ability to possess firearms would have been compromised by the Commission's proposals, are now catered for, subject to safeguards. Historically important firearms will not be covered by new marking requirements, nor will the rules apply to antiques.

The legislation now goes to the Council for formal approval, after which Member States will have 15 months to incorporate the new rules into national law.

Mrs Ford is MEP for the East of England and Chair of the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

Ends


Note for Editors

Background on the revised Firearms Directive can be found here:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20170126BKG59909/revision-of-the-eu-firearms-directive-an-overview