Author Archives: Mikko Pesonen

The Czech Have Challenged the Faulty Firearms Directive in Court!

This just in: Czech Republic Legal Action confirmed!

Now it is official – The misguided firearms directive will be challenged in the ECJ (European Court of Justice) [1]

The Czech ministry of Interior has filed a suit 9th of August to prevent the implementation of the EU Firearms Directive, which would help the national authorities of the Member States to not implement the already faulty directive on national level.

The Czech are requesting both suspension of national implementation for the duration of the legal action (which might take months, best case years) and complete dismissal of the firearms directive.

According to Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec “Such a massive punishment of decent arms holders is unacceptable, because banning legally-held weapons has no connection with the fight against terrorism. This is not only a nonsensical decision once again undermining people’s trust in the EU, but implementing the directive could also have a negative impact on the internal security of the Czech Republic, because a large number of weapons could move to the black market.”

Firearms United completely and totally agrees with the statement above.

The Czech Republic quotes a total of four grounds for repeal of the Directive: [2]

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Swedish Minister of Interior was fired yesterday – and You should be happy about it!

Swedish Minister of Interior Anders Ygeman [1] was fired yesterday – and You should be happy about it!

But why should you care?

Well, mr Ygeman has been rabid anti-gunner and has used his favourite phrase “We must consider public safety!” to hammer law abiding citizens with further restrictions on legal gun ownership and has alledgedly worked hard to hammer through further restrictions from EU level down to the member states.

Actually “We must consider public safety!” were the Anders Ygeman’s famous words as he allowed the civil servants Lars Hänninger and Peter Thorsell, two now well known individuals in the gun community, ignore the mandate given to them by the Swedish Parliament in the negotiations in GENVAL regarding the EU’s Firearms Directive and opted for even harder restrictions for law abiding citizens.

Luckily for us, these words took another meaning when the scandal regarding the Swedish Transport Agency was unveiled. Even though Minister of Interior Ygeman had knowledge about the potentially biggest security breech in Swedish history he failed to inform the Prime minister about it, triggering a major political crisis as the political opposition announced that they would file a vote of non-confidence.

This resulted the political downfall of Mr Ygeman as he was fired from his position as Minister of Interior by Prime minister Stefan Löfvén, much to the rejoicement of law abiding Swedish gun owners.

As we all know, according to statistics, the more firearms there are in circulation in the hands of the law abiding citizens, the more safe the society is and the less crime there is. However, this must have been the wrong kind of “public safety” for mr Ygeman.

Now, get a bottle of champagne (or your favourite beverage) and raise a toast to the downfall of Mr Ygeman.

Raise your class to the public safety!

PS – According to the news he will still receive 1,5 million Swedish crowns as a severance package, and a seat in the next cabinet, should his party win the election.

Featured Picture: Wikipedia

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Ygeman

[2] http://www.expressen.se/dinapengar/miljonregn-over-ministrar-som-lamnar-lofvens-regering/

#EUGunban

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.

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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