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:
- Will the directive apply to military reserve and voluntary defense organizations?
- Markings on firearms
- Authorization and medical review
- Collectors and museums
- Firearms passport
- Transitional period
- 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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1. Will the directive apply to military reserve and voluntary defense organizations?
Council: Council does not mention reserve in article 2, but refers to commission and ”military”.
Parliament: The opinion of the Parliament is that both reserve and voluntary defense forces should not be included in the scope of the directive.
2. Markings on firearms
Council: Pretty much all the firearms and their parts must contain a serial number or unique id, and definition of the how should be determined by the commission. Exception for “historically significant firearms”.
Parliament: Firearms and separately sold essential components should be marked, unless it deactivated or antique firearm. State surplus firearms should be either deactivated permanently or permanently convert to semiautomatic, unless the buyer has authorization to buy class A firearms.
3. Authorization and medical review
Council: Fixed length permits, maximum of 5 years. All authorizations are withdrawn if person is found to have in his possession “unauthorized loading device” (normal capacity magazine). MS can take into use psychological review if that is seen necessary. Pre-existing permits may be renewed, but weapons can not be sold.
Parliament: Parliament defines the definition of a collector. They agree that MS can include medical review and monitoring process can be continuous or non-continuous. 5 year fixed length permits are mandatory, except if MS has implemented system of continuous monitoring. [Note from the editor: We do not know if the system of continuous monitoring refers to cross checking of firearms register and criminal register periodically or something more like DDR system…]. Permits issued before the directive may be renewed, and firearms may be sold – but only to those who have previously had permits to those weapons. [Note from the editor: Thus creating a category and concept of “Pre-ban” guns like US Assault weapon ban did. Get them while you still can!]
4. Collectors and museums
Council: Collectors in scope of the directive. Only museums are allowed to have category A firearms.
Parliament: Collectors included in the scope of the directive. Collectors may have category A firearms if the storage facilities satisfy definition of safe storage.
Council: Possibility to grant category A firearms unless it is contrary to public safety. Acceptable reasons are protection of critical infra-structure, protection of shipping lanes, national defense, training use, cultural reasons, research reasons, historical reasons. Council allows evil black semiautomatic rifles (modern sporting firearms) and “A9 loading devices” (=normal magazines) if one has gone through psych review, one competes actively and are a member of an established organization and have been practicing your sport for at least 12 months. These are not marked to firearms pass, hence, you can not compete abroad.
Parliament: Possibility to grant category A firearms unless it is contrary to public safety. Acceptable reasons are being member of reserve or being sport shooter who competes actively, is a member of an organization and have been doing it for at least 12 months. Category A firearms can be included to firearms passport so one can compete abroad.
Council: You lose your permits if you found in possession of over 10 round magazine for long firearms after the transition period, if you are not in scope of the exception.
Parliament: It is not allowed to attach over 20 round magazine to semiautomatic firearm, unless you are in the scope of the exceptions. You need to show permit to buy a magazine.
7. Firearms passport
Parliament: Category A firearms may be included, but it must not bring any extra cost.
8. Transitional period
Council: Generally 18 months, more for data filing systems.
Parliament: 12 months.
9. Annex-1 (Categorization)
The definition of categories in general is that category A firearms are prohibited unless one is in the scope of the exceptions. (Hunting, or sports shooter fulfilling the criteria (IPSC, SRA))
Demilitarized firearms (converted to semiautomatic)
Council: Category A6.
Parliament: Category A6, unless converted properly and permanently.
Long firearms that can be shortened to less than 600 mm with telescoping or folding stock
Council: Category A
Parliament: Category A
Semiautomatic Firearms that resemble automatic weapons
Council: Category A7, for long firearm if it can accept over 10 round magazine, 20 round magazine limit for short firearm. [Note from the editor: This likely to be a translation mistake: the original wording intended that firearm is category A firearm when magazine was attached to it – and category B without the magazine attached to it.]
Parliament: If firearm can shoot over 21 rounds when there is a magazine larger than 20 rounds attached to it, it goes to category A7.
Possession of magazines
Council: Possession of over 20 round pistol magazines and over 10 round rifle magazines is banned unless your are lucky and in scope of the exceptions.
Parliament: Same rules apply as to ammunition, so one has to show a permit to buy a magazine.
In addition: Parliament has explicitly defined new sub-category for .22 rifles that look scary and placed it to category B.
All negotiations in trilogue are based on a ‘four-column working document’. The four columns set out positions as follows:
- The Commission’s original proposal
- The Council’s text
- The Parliament’s text voted in IMCO
- A fourth column stating the acceptance, rejection, or possible compromise text
The 4 column document is available here: http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-12152-2016-INIT/en/pdf