The IMCO Committee met on 14 June for a presentation of Compromise Amendments by the Rapporteur. Rapporteur Vicky Ford did not mince words when dealing with the most contentious issues such as the exemption for museums and collectors, the retention of semi-automatics in Category B and medical tests. She was also very critical of the Council’s draft.
A considerable quantity of the 847 amendments presented by IMCO MEPs and by the Rapporteur herself have similar or identical objectives. Hence these were grouped into a short list of compromise amendments offering MEPs choices in order of preference to be voted upon on 14 July.
The discussion included references to the General Approach that has been drawn up by the Council of Ministers as its position for negotiations with Parliament in the coming Trialogue discussions. Parts of the Council’s draft were somehow inserted into the IMCO compromise amendments on the insistence of the S&D Shadow Rapporteur.
We thank the sport shooters who wrote to Vicky Ford complaining that while the Council proposal permits sport shooters to acquire and possess those firearms that the Council seeks to prohibit, the same proposal would not permit them to carry them on their Firearms Pass in order to participate in international events.
Such was the extent of the outgoing Presidency’s rush to close the discussion even if the end result is unworkable. The Rapporteur made reference to this fiasco.
In their follow-up speeches, the Shadow Rapporteurs made it it quite clear where their political groups' sympathies lie:
- EPP, ECR, ALDE clearly support a totally watered down version of the Commission proposal
- S&D and the Greens are for more stringent measures.
- EFDD and ENF support an outright rejection of the proposal.
See also what the Parliament Magazine wrote about the debate and how the Council negotiated its compromise.
Parliament slams Commission’s 'unworkable' gun law proposals
MEPs from across the political divide have joined forces in condemning Commission gun law proposals as „unworkable.”
Read more here: 14-06-2016
History of the Council’s General Approach
The Dutch Presidency sought to close this file before the end of its term. No doubt the Commission pulled every available string to ensure that the dossier did not end up in the hands of the Slovaks whose reaction to its proposal was less not too enthusiastic. The Presidency proposals were in many respects far more stringent than the original Commission proposal and included among others:-
- Depriving collectors from owning Category A firearms;
- A ban on A6 Automatic firearms which have been converted into semi-automatic firearms;
- A ban on A7 Semi-automatic firearms with one or more of the following characteristics:
- equipped or capable to be equipped with a firing capacity exceeding six rounds without reloading;
- long firearm with pistol grip;
- [long fire]arm of less than 830 mm in length;
- [long fire]arm with a barrel length of less than 450
We highlight some details for categories which have been debated :
- CZ, AU, UK, BE and FI critzised A7 regards magazines
- IT, ES and IR complained that the magazine’s capicity of six round is to high
- UK and LU accepted with A7, but wanted exemptions for rimfire
- BE, FR and SE wanted magazines as essential parts.
- CZ was against magazines as essential parts, fortunately the majority followed.
- IR, RO und HR wanted to move category D to B.
As you may see that some countries wanted to introduce rules that are more stringent than the Commission’s proposal.
The Council’s General Approach is therefore a compromise between the positions taken by Member States, which positions are usually a reflection of what rules their police forces and government officials wish to impose on citizens via the European Union, irrespective of whether they are dealing with legal or illegal firearms.
In the end the Council published its General Approach document with the following conclusions:-
The following are moved to Category A (prohibited firearms):
6. Automatic firearms which have been converted into semi-automatic firearms.
7. Any of the following centre fire semi-automatic firearms:
a) short firearms which allow the firing of more than 21 rounds without reloading, if a loading device with a capacity exceeding 20 rounds is part of the firearm or is inserted into it; and
b) long firearms which allow the firing of more than 11 rounds without reloading, if a loading device with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds is part of the firearm or is inserted into it.
8. Semi-automatic long firearms (i.e. firearms that are originally intended to be fired from the shoulder) that can be reduced to a length of less than 60cm without losing functionality by means of a folding or telescoping stock or by a stock that can be removed without using tools.
9. Loading devices, apt to be fitted to centre fire semi-automatic or to repeating firearms, with the following characteristics:
a) loading devices which can hold more than 20 rounds;
b) loading devices for long firearms which can hold more than 10 rounds.
Council’s draft is absolute nonsense – it moves millions of firearms from Category B to A and then exempts millions of sport shooters and collectors from the prohibition so that they may acquire and own such firearms;
Much of the nonsense was imported from the Commission proposal which bans firearms on the basis of their cosmetic appearance.
Thankfully the Rapporteur and most of the IMCO MEPs displayed a common sense position.
The same applies to the governments of Czech Republic and Poland which rejected the Council’s compromise in its entirety.
Commissioner Avramopoulos: ban AK47 and AR 15!
One day later Commissioner Avramopoulos (DG Home) used Orlando, Paris I and II (and in the past even Brussels where bombs and no firearms were used) to argue for a ban on legally-held firearms as a means to stop terrorism and crime. He stated that he does not want any firearm which looks alike AK47 or AR15 in civilian hands.
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Terrorists and extremists will use bombs and gas with matches. They cannot be stopped by banning firearms.