Author Archives: Mikko Pesonen

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

Finnish Organizations Issue a joint statement about firearms directive

Finnish organizations have together issued a joint statement to Vicky Ford, the shadow rapporteurs and to the trilogue-participating members of the Commission about the firearms directive proposal:

Dear Ms. Ford and the rapporteurs for the firearms directive:

First of all, we would like to sincerely thank you for the great work you have done so far to improve the technically misguided directive-draft 91/477/EEC Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons presented by the commission. The hard work you have done has not gone unnoticed among the hunters, sport shooters, firearms collectors, reservists and recreational shooters.

We, the undersigned organizations in Finland represent over 600 000 law-abiding firearms owners that have been following the process closely. Even though the current draft is better than the original, it still leaves some room for improvement. We have observed that the process and the proposal of the commission has already shifted the opinions of firearms owners towards euroscepticism and we wish that we would work together to prevent this from becoming a major trend among the citizens.

Currently the following parts of the proposal are generally viewed as unfounded:

  • Magazine restrictions have been tried before, but they have not had any impact on security merely harassment of law-abiding shooters.
  • Firearms categorization by non-technical criteria makes unambiguous interpretation of law impossible.
  • Length restrictions

The criteria above do not make firearm any more or less dangerous, and based on material we have seen so far, the proposal is not supported by facts or statistics, but instead driven by ideological reasons – which should not be the case in legislation.

We are also concerned about the mandatory maximum duration of firearms permit. Finland is a small country and the resources of our authorities are already stretched quite thin to maintain public security. Periodic renewal process would force government to allocate more resources into maintaining the permits which means diverting the resources and budget away from real problem, preventing the movement of the illegal firearms. A major problem these days is the lack of resources of the law enforcement for solving real crimes.

We wish you all the best of luck for the ongoing trilogues and sincerely hope that you can address the points listed above. We are also willing to support you in this process with free technical consultation. Please advise us how we can best be of assistance. Our liaisons in this matter are …

The statement above was signed pretty much by all significant associations, including hunters, firearms dealers, sport shooters, reserve organizations, firearms collectors and even air gunners, as well as FIREARMS UNITED.

finnish-against-eugunban

What Kind of Firearms Directive could Emerge from the Trilogue?

It has been stated many times, that in trilogues the Council and the Parliament try to find a common tune and reach a compromise, a firearms directive proposal accepted by both parties. It means, for both sides, some compromises but what are the current positions for the Council and the Parliament?

Since trilogue is a closed process, we can not provide a list of talking points during trilogue, but if we could, it would look like something we have listed below – and from the points below you can – if nothing changes – create your own prediction of the possible outcome:

  1. Will the directive apply to military reserve and voluntary defense organizations?
  2. Markings on firearms
  3. Authorization and medical review
  4. Collectors and museums
  5. Excemptions
  6. Magazines
  7. Firearms passport
  8. Transitional period
  9. Annex-1 (Categorization)
    • Demilitarized firearms (converted to semiautomatic)
    • Long firearms that can be shortened to less than 600 mm with telescoping or folding stock
    • Semiautomatic firearms that resemble automatic weapons
    • Possession of magazines

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Firearms United Accessorizing the Autumn Fashion in Brussels

Are we now in fashion business?

First of all – thank you for you generous donations, it made this whole campaign possible.key_chains

And no, we are not in fashion business.

Firearms United has now successfully concluded a campaign, the goal of which was to inform Members of the European Parliament about the flaws in the current firearms directive proposal. We have essentially, assembled an information package, filled with facts, statistics, introductionary letter and Firearms United key fob/chamber flag. The graphical design for the key fob was borrowed from Swedish enthusiast. Keeping people informed is still the name of our game. That being said, the information package included 28 reasons why the magazine ban is unworkable from both legal and enthusiasts perspective.

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