Reliable sources have warned us that several important amendments from the original 847 proposed by IMCO MEPs are likely to end up in badly-drafted Compromise Amendments.
It would appear that the positive stand originally taken by EPP, ECR and ALDE has been watered down to garner the support of S&D and the Greens as well as to align the final IMCO report with the General Approach approved by Council.
FIREARMS UNITED has worked ceaselessly over the past weeks to analyse the Amendments and to inform its supporters. Two summaries are provided which are the result of the views of our working team and partners. Being work in progress we may at this stage still have differing views.
Text proposed to be deleted from the 1991 version is highlighted in red as is text that the Commission wants to add to introduce disproportionate measures affecting legal gun owners that have no benefit to improving public security. Text which in our opinion represents a sensible solution is marked in blue as is our opinion and justification,
You may share this one and attach it to your emails if you wish to circulate.
The attack from FIREARMS UNITED comes after a parliamentary committee this week was told that 900 amendments have been submitted by MEPs to the Commission’s gun law proposals.
However, ahead of the vote in mid-July, the gun lobby, which is particularly influential in central and eastern Europe, has stepped up its campaign to water down the draft revision.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for FIREARMS UNITED told this website, “The current firearms directive is an effective tool for security and does not unnecessarily obstruct legal activity. EU member states that faithfully transposed the directive into their national laws and applied proper enforcement enjoy positive results. What is necessary is further collaboration between member states to learn from those that successfully applied the directive effectively and to implemented measures that harmonise the procedures for better control.”
Interview. Thibault de Montbrial is a penal lawyer to the Paris court, president of the Reflection Center for Home Security and author to “The burst or the chaos” (Plon editor).
This interview has been published in French on Thursday, June 2, 2016 by VALEURS ACTUELLES Picture by Oleg Volk
VA. You speak regularly of weapon carry for citizens. How would this change fight against insecurity?
Thibault de Montbrial. The analysis of numerous attacks with war weapons in public places leads to the following theorem : the faster the response by fire, the fewer casualties. That is why the authorities have changed the rules of intervention of the security forces, first police forces on the spot are now invited to enter into direct action and not to form a security perimeter pending the intervention groups.
GO. But before the arrival of those first forces, what could be done but suffer if nobody carries a gun inside the attacked location?
Thibault de Montbrial. First, encourage police officers to carry their weapon while off duty. This crucial step allows to have plainclothes armed persons in public transport, shopping centers, cinemas or theaters (except for those stupid enough to ban them). It is therefore necessary to encourage administrations which remain reluctant like the gendarmerie or customs, to encourage their staff on this path.
But we must go further. I advocate in this respect to allow two classes of citizens to carry weapons under their civilian clothes: first former members of the security forces, and then some citizen volunteers who would be trained for this purpose. For both categories of “armed civilians”, one can imagine an initial training followed by regular training and periodic monitoring on both the technical and medical and psychological.
The IMCO Rapporteur and MEPs tabled 847 amendments. The Compromise Amendments have been drawn up and the committee will vote on the final list on 14th July.
The prospects of a favorable vote that rejects most of the Commission proposals are good. The statements by MEPs during the debate on the amendments indicate majority support for our arguments.
This has been achieved through careful discourse with the MEPsand we shall continue along that path. We draw your attention that no matter how upset you may be with the EU you must always retain a polite and civil attitude in your contacts with MEPs. Focus on the S&D members as the more we win over the greater our chances of success.
The General Approach approved by the Council of Ministers leads to a public outcry over useless measures against legal firearm ownership with little or no effect on criminal and terrorist activity.
Criticism has been voiced by associations of stakeholders as well as some police forces and local media, in other words those who understand the impact of the amendments and their enforcement.
Support for the Council’s position comes from advocates of stricter firearm control who display an abysmal lack of knowledge about the actual directive, the amendments and particularly about the clear distinction between legal firearm ownership and criminality.
German State Secretary Emily Haber was naively pleased that “in future all firearms will be registered”. The Socialist group’s “gun control expert” Evelyne Gebhardt (SPD, DE), wants to ban illicit manufacturers who illegally modify weapons and sell them over the illegal darknet (meaning that she expects criminals to observe measures which are already banned under the current Directive. Commissioner Avramopoulos (DG Home) used Orlando, Paris I and II (and in the past even Brussels when bombs but no firearms were used) as a reason for banning legally-held firearms to stop terrorism and crime – he does not want any firearm which looks alike AK-47 or AR15 in civilian hands. In practice this means the banning of the modern sporting rifles used by law-abiding citizens.
Do these people live in the real world? Thankfully they are far from winning the war. The process has a long way to go and we are turning the tide.
We must convince the majority of MEPs (more than 350) that in the absence of an impact assessment the Commission proposal violates the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and the damage to law-abiding citizens and business far outweigh the minimal impact on terrorism and crime.
We are spurred on by our victory during the LIBE vote on 9th May when MEPs rejected most of the unreasonable amendments. Moreover the debate in IMCO is moving in our direction and we must press on for a full rejection in the vote of 14th July.
The IMCO Committee met on 14 June for a presentation of Compromise Amendments by the Rapporteur. Rapporteur Vicky Ford did not mince words when dealing with the most contentious issues such as the exemption for museums and collectors, the retention of semi-automatics in Category B and medical tests. She was also very critical of the Council’s draft.
A considerable quantity of the 847 amendments presented by IMCO MEPs and by the Rapporteur herself have similar or identical objectives. Hence these were grouped into a short list of compromise amendments offering MEPs choices in order of preference to be voted upon on 14 July.
The discussion included references to the General Approach that has been drawn up by the Council of Ministers as its position for negotiations with Parliament in the coming Trialogue discussions. Parts of the Council’s draft were somehow inserted into the IMCO compromise amendments on the insistence of the S&D Shadow Rapporteur.
We thank the sport shooters who wrote to Vicky Ford complaining that while the Council proposal permits sport shooters to acquire and possess those firearms that the Council seeks to prohibit, the same proposal would not permit them to carry them on their Firearms Pass in order to participate in international events.
Such was the extent of the outgoing Presidency’s rush to close the discussion even if the end result is unworkable. The Rapporteur made reference to this fiasco.
In their follow-up speeches, the Shadow Rapporteurs made it it quite clear where their political groups’ sympathies lie:
EPP, ECR, ALDE clearly support a totally watered down version of the Commission proposal
S&D and the Greens are for more stringent measures.
EFDD and ENF support an outright rejection of the proposal.
See also what the Parliament Magazine wrote about the debate and how the Council negotiated its compromise.
On June 1st Andrzej Leszczyński (GUN TV), Tomasz Stępień (Firearms United) and Jarosław Lewandowski (Fundacja Rozwoju Strzelectwa) participated in debate at the European Parlament in Brussels organised by European Foundation For Freedom with the participation of Members Of European Parliament – Robert Iwaszkiewicz and Janusz Korwin-Mikke. Subject of debate was constricting the access to firearms for law-abiding citizens. Magnificent work was done! Huge “Thank You!”
A big “Thank You” to those who are supporting us through donations to the Fighting Fund: 30,000 euro already and increasing daily!
A special thanks goes to our French supporters. Our partners UNPACTas well as the French association for target shooters FFTirhave donated 500 € and 2,000 € respectively and appeal to their members to donate.
We particularly thank Philippe Crochard, the Président of FFTir: Over 200,000 members received his alert!
On the 2nd of June the French firearms lobby Comité Guillaume Tell published a press release alerting all legal firearm owners in France about the risks posed on their civil liberties to possess firearms by the position adopted by the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We expect to see similar press releases by organisations in other large Member States such as Germany, Italy and the UK. Better late than never!
We support the position of Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of Pink Pistols, an international GLBT self-defense organization:
“The Pink Pistols gives condolences to all family and friends of those killed and injured at Pulse,” began Patton. “This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this. The human being’s tools are unimportant when compared to the bleakness of that person’s soul. I say again, GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”