Author Archives: Mikko Pesonen

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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Back to the core business – Summary from Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Vote on opening the Interinstitutional Negotiations on the Control of Accquisition and Possession of Weapons at IMCO meeting on 5th of September 2016

Original videolink can be found from here: Link

Transcript

[Timestamps: 1:35:10 – 1:39:45]

[Skipping the administrative matters and going straight to the interesting part.]
—————————————————————

MEP Vicky Ford, Chairman (Conservatives and Reformists):
Before we vote, I’m going to give the floor to Dita Charanzová who’s asked for the floor.

MEP Dita Charanzová (Liberals and Democrats) :
Thank you Madame Chair. Before we proceed to the vote, I just would like to reiterate my concerns I already raised regarding the forthcoming Interinstitutional Negotiations. Czech gun holders and many others keep sending to me worried messages about the impact of this proposal – and I think we should not neglect them. To address their concerns, we need to make sure that our discussions are truly fact-based, and well informed. So, that’s why I would like to urge the Commission to provide us as much relevant information from ALL Member States as soon as possible, but definitely before any talks on categorization of firearms start.

Our aim, I think, has to be to reach an outcome of the negotiations which will not punish ordinary citizens. Thank you.

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Qu’est-il finalement sorti du vote de la commission IMCO ?

Sorry, this entry is only available in French. For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

Qu’est-il finalement sorti du vote de la commission IMCO ?

Comme vous l’avez peut-être remarqué, nous n’avions pas encore publié le compte-rendu du vote de l’IMCO de mercredi dernier. Il y a deux raisons à cela : tout d’abord, l’équipe de Firearms United s’est épuisée avec le stress des efforts consacrés à défendre notre position jusqu’ici. Ensuite, avant de vous les communiquer au plus vite, il a fallu prendre le temps d’en analyser les tenants et les aboutissants.

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What Really Happened in the IMCO Vote?

As you may have noticed, we have not yet reported the exact results of the last Wednesday’s IMCO vote. This is due to two reasons; firstly we are all quite exhausted after the stressful effort to defend our position up to this point and secondly we needed time to analyse the result before rushing in to judge the result.

Rumours of what has actually been banned, if anything, have been circulating together with justified questions about the next steps in this process. These were mainly sparked by conflicting comments made by various MEPs. It is now quite obvious that a considerable number of MEPs did not fully comprehend what they voted for and are even less aware of what the result states.

The prize for the most absurd comment goes to Finnish SnD MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari who immediately declared in the Finnish national news: “It was an excellent compromise. The best parts were the ban of semiautomatic weapons and restricting access to firearms.”  This article was understandably swiftly edited and the comment was changed to “It was an excellent compromise. The most important change was restricting access to firearms”. (Source: Yle News of 7th of July 2016 )

These hasty statements highlight the complexity of the voting list and the compromise amendments. Indeed some MEPs expressed their view that this was the most complex voting list that they had ever seen.

Below you will find a short summary of the IMCO opinion based on the notes compiled by Firearms United members and experts who attended the voting session on Wednesday 13th July.

Article in FR :  Qu’est-il finalement sorti du vote de la commission IMCO ?

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