Author Archives: Mikko Pesonen

Firearms United is going to Supreme Court – In Sweden!

The Swedish authorities have been very active when it comes to making life hard for citizens practising IPSC-shooting or other dynamic shooting disciplines that require semiautomatic modern sporting rifles. [1][2]

Several Swedish authorities have been running a campaign for quite some time to ban and restrict the ownership of semiautomatic firearms and for example the previous EU Gunban of 2013 [3] was orchestrated and driven by Swedish Commisioner Cecilia Malmström, supported by shady authorities making up the rules and ”facts” on the fly. Firerams United was originally founded to counter this outrageous and unjustified attack on civil liberties.

We have also heard that Swedish authorities have already denied at least three permits for sport shooters on grounds of the EU Firearms directive – which had not been even finished at the time, let alone in effect.

One common practice is also the misuse of tax payers funds by taking things to court – most of the time the sport shooters win the case and get their permits, and case is conveniently forgotten, but when authorities win a case, it comes a precedent which is used by the authorities to deny permits in the future. [1]

When the latest round of firearms directive was discussed, Sweden sent their best experts in banning firearms to offer their ideologically coloured expertise and push for a stricter firearms directive. In other words, their agenda is now pushed over the Swedish borders and we have had enough of this now.

Firearms United is supporting financially the Swedish shooters to take things to supreme court and put an end to this nonsense.

There is a case currently ongoing, which is widely known among the shooters in Sweden. A sport shooter has applied permit for modern semiautomatic sporting rifle for a sport called ”free rifle” which was denied by the authorities because the sport is practiced on club level and does not have authorized international organization behind it. The defendant has won in court already once, and now the case is going to the supreme court.

The stakes are high:
If authorities win, they can dictate which firearms are ok to use and which are not. It is probably end of the IPSC in Sweden as we know it. Actually, if authorities win, they would have a capability to dictate which forms of sport would approved in Sweden, and which are not.

To put it simply, we do not want the future of for example IPSC in Sweden be in the hands of an person who has stated about IPSC “If they want to play war they can take up paintball” and who has stated in court that scopes of high magnification, weapon lights and picatinny rails should be only allowed for police and military use.

If the free citizens win, they will have a powerful precedent on their side.

As usual, the authorities (mis)using tax payer funds so there is no end to their war chest. Swedish shooters have been running a campaign to fund the fight which might cost as much as 20 000 €, and have collected 90% of the sum. Firearms United will provide the missing 2000 € to fill the war chest and support taking the fight back to the authorities.

Why?

a) As a principle, this case is of utmost importance for the future of civilian firearms ownership in Sweden, as the police authority may severely limit it, should they win the case.

b) Swedish sport shooters have been very active in Firearms United.

c) Authorities can not make rules up as they go.

d) Payback. Opportunity for payback for everything since the Firearms Directive update in 2013.

Time to fight back!

United we stand, divided we fall.

* Clarification: Firearms United is not involved in the case in any other way than that we are following the process and that we decided to donate to the cause. To donate is open to anyone that want to support the cause. Why we decided to donate stands clear in the text above, principally this is a very important case. The text above is to be seen as an explanation and justification to our followers and donors as to why we decided to donate. And to why this case is so important that we decided to support an individual case. Which we normally don’t do.

The donation comes from Firearms United Fighting Fund which was funded by firearms enthusiasts during our common fight against EU directive.

 

[1] https://firearms-united.com/something-rotten-kingdom-sweden-spreading-part-1/

[2] https://firearms-united.com/something-rotten-kingdom-sweden-part-2/

[3] http://www.dw.com/en/eus-malmstroem-pushes-for-tougher-unified-european-gun-laws/a-17170795

Czech to approve “2nd Amendment” as a first Country in Europe?

The campaign of the Czech is moving forward.

In the Czech Republic the Czech Parliament was discussing before a final vote about constitutional right to keep and bear arms on Wednesday.

The experts expected a that the result would be too close to call, but fortunately the proposal was passed with rather clear numbers:

139 Yes,

9 No,

20 empty.

The change in legislation required 120 votes, so the proposal was passed with 19 votes to spare. [1] Next step is to get the proposal through the senate, but the odds are stacked considerably better to favour civil liberties than in the parliament.

This proposal and the potential impacts of the EU firearms directive were discussed extensively in a conference organized in the Cevro Institute in Prague by LEX (Czech office of the Firearms United), where the best experts were present to answer the questions of the concerned Czech citizens. [2]

What does all this mean then?

The EU law overrides the constitution of a member state when there is conflict between European law and the law of Member States, European law prevails; the norms of national law have to be set aside. According to EU at least. Many of the member states do not see this as black-and-white as the EU, and reserve the right to interpret legislation when there is a conflict. However, we have observed during a last year and half that passing an EU directive gets that much more complicated when it is in violation of the national law. For example many member states (France excluded!) have constitution that reserves a right a right to have private property, and seizing it without compensation gets really challenging legally – as it should, because it would be called theft if anyone but the government would be doing it.

This means that due to the campaign by the Czech, come the next review of the firearms directive, scheduled 5 years from now, the European commission has one more hurdle to overcome before confiscating your private property without compensation.

The campaign for the RKBA in Czech is a shining example on how the national legislation and civil liberties can be enhanced when the officials and the firearms enthusiasts who are subject matter experts work together.

Stay tuned!

[1] https://www.novinky.cz/domaci/442097-lide-budou-mit-pravo-pouzit-zbran-k-obrane-statu-rozhodla-snemovna.html

[2] http://cevroinstitut.cz/en/action/czech-republic-as-a-central-european-texas/

 

National Implementation – what now?

Now that the firearms directive has passed through the council (25th of April, 2017) what is race to the national implementation.

The hard lobbying work done by Firearms United, and its associates, and the information and feedback that you have sent and mailed to your MEPs resulted in numerous exceptions, which are left up to national authorities (and stakeholders) to implement.

The exception for military reserve, for example provides local authorities pretty much free hands to ensure that whatever kind of firearms are available to whatever the local authorities define to be military reserve. This could (theoretically) mean anything from free machine guns to everybody and their mother to for example some locally define group of reservists being exempt from magazine restrictions – and of course this exception only works in countries where one actually has a military reserve.

The exception that can be used more widely is the sport shooters exception – which has also some wiggle-room. For example, how do the local authorities define a sport which needs a normal capacity magazine, thus ensuring a sportshooter being exempt from magazine restrictions? Is it just for the lucky individuals involved in the IPSC who are exempt? Or is it everyone, who has a gun permit issued for sportshooting, so that sport shooter can practice multiple different disciplines?

This means in practice that it is very important to ensure that the sport exception applies for as large group of people as possible. And this is something that you can help with. In many countries stakeholders (sport shooting clubs for example) are consulted regarding the implementation before the law is passed.

It means that you and your club should be really active, check the local translation of the firearms directive in case of any translation mishaps and then be really active when stakeholders are consulted to ensure that as wide group of firearms enthusiasts are covered by the exceptions.

 

The Voting Day is approaching!

Situation update:

As we have indicated earlier the European Parliament will vote on the firearms directive on 14th of March.

Firearms United staff has worked overtime to provide you with the summary of the current situation:

The voting will work with the following principle if it follows the standard protocol: First there is a majority vote on whether the current compromise (with all the magazine restrictions etc) is approved or not, and if not, then the voting will proceed with the proposed amendments, which there are 166 (!!!)

You can find all the amendments from here:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/report-details.html?reference=A8-0251-2016

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“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made”

The EU-decision making process is a complex one. Firearms United has been following the EU legislation process up close and personal since the day ill-conceived proposal from the commission saw the light of day, and based on what we have seen, Otto von Bismarck was right when he (allegedly) said: Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.

The “Trilogue” is still ongoing and we are now in the phase called: “First Reading”

That is where in a nutshell The European Parliament examines the Commission’s proposal and may:

  • adopt it or
  • introduce amendments to it

After that the Council may:

  • decide to accept the Parliament’s position: in such a case the legislative act is adopted
  • amend the Parliament’s position: the proposal is returned to the Parliament for a second reading

What ACTUALLY really happened so far was that in council France, Germany, Italy and Spain did some shady dealing in backstage and sent a veiled threat in the letter and thus heavily dictated the Council position to which some improvements were pushed in by some countries (FI, CZ, etc).

During that time, the parliament examined the proposal, noticed that it was “unworkable” (We have to agree with the rapporteurs on this one!). Some 900 or so amendmends were made, some voted in – some left out – but in the end we had parliament position. In the trilogue meetings during autumn, a compromise – which we described and published earlier – was reached.

This brings us to present day – The key parts of the proposal are still unfinished (the ones that got this mess started in the first place – deactivation rules) and the parliament is due to vote on the proposal in March – over month before the new deactivation rule proposal is even returning from comments round.

Now two things may happen – either proposal is approved or amended, which brings us to

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Guilty – until proven innocent?

Stereotypes – they are nice and they save time – its easy to label people, especially in media these days.

Gone are the days when news agencies reported only facts – if they ever did. And in media these days you are pretty much always labeled guilty – whether your are guilty or not. And if you are not – nobody bothers to “correct” the news afterwards.

We have a nice example of “investigative journalism” for you today:

In Spain the local police (in cooperation with EUROPOL – just about week before IMCO vote) seized huge number of what they call “illegal firearms”.

Press release [1] was later issued by the Spanish authorities:

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Malta Firearms Conference – Sending the Message!

The Conference organized by FESAC, AACTS, AMACS and Firearms United in Malta has attracted media attention – in addition to hall full of firearms enthusiasts and foreign guests from many organizations in Europe!

Nothing in the directive is yet settled, and even the trilogue is still formally ongoing before the parliament approves the current “compromise”. Malta is in key position, because they are taking over EU presidency for the next six months and one of the more challenging areas is the new firearms directive proposal, so the conference was an excellent event, where the message from the shooters was sent to the authorities – loud and clear.

The Maltese organizations spared no effort or expense setting up the conference on saturday, and as you can see from the pictures, they had even organized an exhibit where they showed priceless historical artifacts that were originally sentenced to be destroyed by the commission.

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Impact Assessment – Delivered!

Impact Assessment is sent by letter post to all MEPs

Because of the “urgency of the situation”, the commission decided to – against all principles of good administration – to skip an essential part of the process called impact assessment.

It is just what it sounds like – a study on how the proposed directive will impact various stakeholders like hunters, reservists, sport shooters, recreational shooters, firearms collectors to name a few. Despite requests of the MEPs and rapporteurs, commission has failed – to this date – deliver a proper impact assessment to justify the directive proposal.

I think we all know why.

One of the reasons of the conference was to provide a voice to all shooting enthusiasts and an opportunity for each stakeholder group to voice their opinion on the directive. One could characterize it as a live version of the impact assessment.

After the conference, everything was put together by Firearms United team of volunteers and now we have two versions:

The short version of our impact assessment: http://bit.ly/2fIAFru

The full version of our impact assessment: http://bit.ly/2fzOESO

Our letter to the MEPs

Thanks to efforts of the volunteers, there was also a hard copy of the shorter version printed out and mailed to each of the MEPs with this letter: Continue reading

New attempt from the EU commission to ban specifically AK47 and AR15 families of Firearms

The cat is out of the bag now…

New attempt (16.11.2016!) by the EU commission to ban specifically:

  • Civilian firearms of “AR 15 family”, also derivates
  • Civilian firearms of “AK47 family”, also derivates
  • ALL detachable magazines above 10 rounds (also for handguns, repeating-firearms, rimfires etc.)
  • Strong regulation of magazines and semi-automatic firearms
  • Stricest evaluation of exemptions
  • Immediate decision on bans, since “EU citizens” demand more protection!

Sourced from EU commission document, 16. November 2016, published on Website of Austrian Parliament: Link

This article is avaiable in six languages:

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UN and EU Firearms Expert Suspected for Distribution of Illegal Firearms

Since last year the proposals of the European Commission tried to bring us new and draconian gun legislation. The EC hoped to get a quick vote in their favor on the back of the terror attacks last year in France. We have been working very hard since that proposal to counter the inaccuracies and general lack of common sense in the proposals.

One of the people who argued for more gun control, was Jean-Luc Stassen, the managing director of the Belgian Proof House in Liege.

Mr Stassen was present in the EP committee debate chaired by MEP Vicky Ford and spoke for 10 minutes, suggesting, amongst other things, that a magazine restriction would be advisable. Mr. Stassen continued to explain at length how certain categories of firearms upon deactivation should require a guaranteed traceability, accompanied by official documents that could not be falsified or forged.

It’s with great interest that we now find out that last Thursday, 27th October, Mr. Stassen was arrested on charges of forgery, the use of falsified documents and embezzlement. Furthermore the Newspapers suggest that over 260 firearms slated for destruction (by the Proof House), were removed from the Belgian Central Firearms Registry and instead of being destroyed, ended up sold on the black market.

The arrest came after the Police executed a search warrant at his home and at the Proof house in Liege. During the searches at least one firearm was confiscated. Mr. Stassen denied the charges at the time of his arrest.

It is widely known, that restrictions on legal firearms sales always contribute towards gray and black market firearms sales. In other words, people who can not acquire firearm legally purchase illegal firearms and the well known concepts of supply and demand ensure that if legal firearms are banned, the illegal market will flourish. Also history has shown that certain parts of firearms that are banned usually end up in the black market.

Time will tell what happens to Mr Stassen, but now we can question his motives – did he recommend bans and restrictions to shift the demand to black market to ensure healthy profit margin for illegal firearms he allegedly was selling?

Needless to say, we will follow this story with great interest…

S.Vandamme

Read more in the news:

Détournement d’armes au banc d’épreuves de Liège: Jean-Luc Stassen était expert pour l’ONU et l’Union Européenne

Besides his position as director of proofhouse weapons of Liege, he is also head of the Belgian delegation to the Permanent International Commission for firearms, officer for criminal investigation for the monitoring of trade weapons in Belgium- and member of several expert groups (in particular, for the UN and the EU). He is a member of the jury for the gunsmiths examinations and Advisory Board Member of arms.

Weapons proofhouse of Liège: arrest warrant issued for director

Le directeur du banc d’épreuves des armes de Liège placé sous mandat d’arrêt

Directeur van Wapenproefbank in Luik gearresteerd