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…
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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.