Proposed amendments to the Firearms Directive have been published by the EU Commission yesterday. They include stricter licensing controls and a ban on military-looking semi-automatic firearms.
A review of the Directive following the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January called for better information exchange, improved standards for deactivated firearms and illegal firearms trafficking. Following the Friday 13th attacks in Paris, this has now been significantly advanced and the scope widened. Additional proposed amendments include:
• The restriction of firearms licences to five years.
• The classification of hunting firearms.
• Medical tests for firearm owners.
BASC is in contact with the Home Office and is working closely with the federation of European hunting associations – FACE – to assess the situation. Senior firearms officer Matt Perring said; “BASC is in contact with the UK government and working tirelessly with our EU counterparts including FACE. BASC is represented at the FACE firearms experts group formed primarily to deal with the directive review. It is early stages and, as with any legal drafting, it is subject to process. We will do everything necessary to influence this and to inform and represent our members and the shooting community.”
BASC has consistently argued that licences should be issued for ten years and recently launched a white paper on this – click here to read it.
In addition we are already working with the Home Office, the police and other shooting organisations in looking at medical issues within firearms licensing and we are close to an agreement. In the UK semi-automatic rifles of larger calibre than .22 are already banned.
Peter Glenser, a BASC Council member and barrister specialising in firearms law said; “It is important to recognise the difference between legitimate sporting firearms and illegal weapons. We fully support moves by the EU to give legal force to this distinction and to tackle terrorism. Governments should ensure that new laws separate lawful ownership and the use of sporting guns from illegal firearms used in terrorism.”
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