Europe’s “Gun Problem”: Commission Adopts Stricter Rules Regarding Firearms

Written by | Thursday, November 19th, 2015

The European Commission yesterday (18 November) adopted a number of new measures concerning firearms. The new package of regulations should make it more difficult to obtain them, to enable better tracking of legally held arms as well as deactivate firearms that are considered inoperable. The new measures had been foreseen already in April this year as part of the European Security Agenda but the Commission has significantly accelerated the process in response to the Paris attacks. The EU is thus supporting individual Member States in their struggle to protect European citizens and prevent terrorists from obtaining arms.

Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, commented that that “the recent terrorist attacks on Europe’s people and values were coordinated across borders, showing that we must work together to resist these threats.” He added that yesterday’s proposal would “help us tackle the threat of weapons falling into the hands of terrorists.” The EU is therefore coming up with stricter controls on sale and registration of firearms, and stronger rules to irrevocably deactivate weapons. Moreover, Brussels is aiming to formulate an action plan in the near future to deal with arms trafficking. “Organized criminals accessing and trading military grade firearms in Europe cannot and will not be tolerated,” Mr Juncker added.

The package of measures on firearms adopted yesterday includes stricter rules to ban certain semi-automatic firearms, which will not, under any circumstance, be allowed to be held by private persons, even if they have been permanently deactivated. Moreover, they include tighter rules on the online acquisition of firearms, EU common rules on marking of firearms to improve the traceability of weapons and better exchange of information between Member States, for example on any refusal of authorization to own a firearm decided by another national authority, and obligation to interconnect national registers of weapons.

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