Tag Archives: Firearms Directive

European Commission: Banning bullets – do it for the Birds!

Trying to ban guns was not successful – next: Ban on bullets!

EU Commission has asked ECHA (European Chemical Agency) to conduct study and consultation to ban lead bullets. [1] To avoid mistakes done with misguided firearms directive, like missing impact assessment, they have started a public consultation for restrictions of Lead in shot in wetlands AND ”Any other uses of lead ammunition (than lead in shot in wetlands), including hunting in other terrains than wetlands and target shooting. Lead weights for fishing.”

According to their statement ”Modern lead-free ’gunshot cartriges, such as steel cartridges, are suitable for all types of hunting in wetlands and are widely available.”

In other words, EU is currently asking for public feedback on commission plan to ban lead (and copper) on ammunition – using the environment as an excuse.

The attempt to ban concerns [2] ammunition which contains lead in concentrations greater than 1% by weight, for shooting with a shot gun within a wetland or where spent gunshot would land within a wetland, including shooting ranges or shooting grounds in wetlands. And in addition there is another parallel study on restriction on ”other ammunition” meaning lead-based rifle and pistol ammunition. In other words – pretty much all ammunition.

Problem 1:
The definition used for defining the wetland is the following [1]
“areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres”.

The Ramsar definition of wetlands is a comprehensive and internationally recognised definition but it means that lead bullets will be banned up to 24,3% of surface area in for example Sweden.

Problem 2:
All current rifles would not be usable anymore. This includes pistols as well. Long range shooting would become impossible for civilians. This is because for any kind of accuracy bullet stability is essential. The issue comes from barrel twist, which is usually calculated with Millers formula which is slightly improved version of classical Greenhill formula, which indicates that bullet material density matters – when for example calculating values for .308, for which barrel twist is usually 12 inches with traditional lead ammunition, corresponding rifle twist for example copper bullets would be about 9,5 inches. This means that your expensive rifle just became unsuitable for ammunition currently available.

Problem 3:
In addition to this – its not only hunters who are going to be royally shafted with this restriction:
It pretty much makes sportshooting impossible by banning .22 ammunition, which we all know is mostly lead.

Problem 4:
Steel, which is considered to be suitable ”cheap” enough alternative wears out barrels like there is no tomorrow.

Problem 5:
It is also classified in many countries as armor piercing round material, which means steel bullets are banned.

Problem 6:
Not all shotguns are rated for steel shots. The hunters would have to in some cases buy new shotguns.

According to commission, all of this is ok, because it provides ”Increased (long-term) opportunitiesfor birdwatching.” [2]

Solution:

The public consultation on this proposed restriction will start on 21 June 2017 and end on 21 December 2017, which means that YOU should provide feedback as soon as possible to by reading and providing information according to document [2] .

It is of utmost importance to get involved in this, both on as individuals, and as hunting and sport-shooting organizations because, ECHA considers only the environmental perspective – which according to past does not pain a pretty picture.

For example banning of copper shots has been already proposed. The biggest problem, according to our sources is that at the moment is that for example Danmarks Jaegerforbund lobbies hard for banning lead ammunition by sending out strong signal that lead can be replaced easily in all ammunition, including .22. In addition to this, they claimed that NORMA is already researching steel ammunition for other calibers for civilian market. According to ECHA, there should be zero-tolerance for lead, which means most likely long term campaign

What can I do:

– Spread information. Get your own hunting and sport shooting association to participate and provide their statement for the public consultation! Provide statement as an individual. Clock is ticking!

Would you like to know more?
Check our partner Gunsweek’s article about this particular topic:

https://www.gunsweek.com/en/current/news/lead-ammo-ban-eu-it-again

References:

[1] https://echa.europa.eu/fi/addressing-chemicals-of-concern/restriction/echas-activities-on-restrictions/current-activites-on-restrictions

[2] Public Consultation:
https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/d7fb96cf-7956-7406-3568-399ca20151e0

[3] https://www.gunsweek.com/en/current/news/lead-ammo-ban-eu-it-again

Picture: Courtesy of Gunsweek

National Implementation: Norway Banning Semi-automatics!

According to rumours, now confirmed by an article [1], the Norwegian Government wants to ban semi-automatics from civilian use as a national implementation of the firearms directive. At the moment, the proposal concerns “semi-automatic rifles of the kind used by the police and the Armed Forces”, not describing whether it is all semiautomatics, or semiautomatic weapons which have been converted from automatic weapons.

(Note from the editor: We know. Semi-automatic is semi-automatic, and it does not make it more dangerous if it has once been an automatic – except in the eyes of the EU-commission.)

“The prohibition will also apply to those who have already been granted permission to own such weapons”, if true, means that the Norwegian government is flying solo here – thanks to hard lobbying done by the firearms owners and activists, the EU directive explicitly states that member states can continue the existing permits – should they choose to do so.

According to VG the bill was presented by Justice Minister Per Willy Amundsen (Frp) on Friday. Prime Minister Erna Solberg tells VG that there are weapons with large magazines and big firepower that is now going out of civilian hands. With her quote “As a hunter, you do not need more than five shots. Then there will be a small group that is allowed to acquire such weapons, and there will be elite shooters at the international level using such weapons in competition” Solberg demonstrates both lack of understanding how things work in this other reality which we all others share: you can not become “international elite shooter” unless you practice. This is not cross-country-skiing where little push from sports medicine can get you to the top.

It seems that Norway plans extending some exceptions to active athletes and collectors, but judging by several references to “22nd of July” reveal her real idealistic motives even before she blurts it out “We saw July 22 how fast you can shoot many and how difficult it is to get away when someone can shoot with 25 shots. To me, it’s an argument for why this type should not be allowed” she says.

All in all, the article does not have all the facts, at least with the accuracy anyone understanding anything about firearms would like to see, so we suggest following this topic closely.

In worst case, this spells end of IPSC in Norway, because as stated earlier, only perfect practice makes perfect.

If you are part of the firearms community in Norway and hear more, please contact Firearms United and let us know exactly what you know. Because when you put tiny shards of intel from several sources together full picture often emerges.

[1] http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/solberg-regjeringen/regjeringen-vil-forby-halvautomatiske-haandvaapen/a/24131389/

The Czech Have Challenged the Faulty Firearms Directive in Court!

This just in: Czech Republic Legal Action confirmed!

Now it is official – The misguided firearms directive will be challenged in the ECJ (European Court of Justice) [1]

The Czech ministry of Interior has filed a suit 9th of August to prevent the implementation of the EU Firearms Directive, which would help the national authorities of the Member States to not implement the already faulty directive on national level.

The Czech are requesting both suspension of national implementation for the duration of the legal action (which might take months, best case years) and complete dismissal of the firearms directive.

According to Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec “Such a massive punishment of decent arms holders is unacceptable, because banning legally-held weapons has no connection with the fight against terrorism. This is not only a nonsensical decision once again undermining people’s trust in the EU, but implementing the directive could also have a negative impact on the internal security of the Czech Republic, because a large number of weapons could move to the black market.”

Firearms United completely and totally agrees with the statement above.

The Czech Republic quotes a total of four grounds for repeal of the Directive: [2]

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National Implementation – what now?

Now that the firearms directive has passed through the council (25th of April, 2017) what is race to the national implementation.

The hard lobbying work done by Firearms United, and its associates, and the information and feedback that you have sent and mailed to your MEPs resulted in numerous exceptions, which are left up to national authorities (and stakeholders) to implement.

The exception for military reserve, for example provides local authorities pretty much free hands to ensure that whatever kind of firearms are available to whatever the local authorities define to be military reserve. This could (theoretically) mean anything from free machine guns to everybody and their mother to for example some locally define group of reservists being exempt from magazine restrictions – and of course this exception only works in countries where one actually has a military reserve.

The exception that can be used more widely is the sport shooters exception – which has also some wiggle-room. For example, how do the local authorities define a sport which needs a normal capacity magazine, thus ensuring a sportshooter being exempt from magazine restrictions? Is it just for the lucky individuals involved in the IPSC who are exempt? Or is it everyone, who has a gun permit issued for sportshooting, so that sport shooter can practice multiple different disciplines?

This means in practice that it is very important to ensure that the sport exception applies for as large group of people as possible. And this is something that you can help with. In many countries stakeholders (sport shooting clubs for example) are consulted regarding the implementation before the law is passed.

It means that you and your club should be really active, check the local translation of the firearms directive in case of any translation mishaps and then be really active when stakeholders are consulted to ensure that as wide group of firearms enthusiasts are covered by the exceptions.

 

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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“EU WON’T DEFEAT US” – video

The goal is to disarm Europe and make it defenseless – at least that is what the European Commission tries to do for the last 18 months. Fortunately, this action is being pushed back by the law abiding firearms owners. Why the Eurocrats try do so? Isn’t it that making a terrorists’ life easier should be considered a treason? For whom the European Commission works? Does the MEPs DO UNDERSTAND WHAT ARE THEY VOTE UPON AND DO THEY CREATE LAWS CONSCIOUSLY? See for yourself in this shocking material on incompetence of modern Europe.

Dita Charanzova

EU Gun Ban: Dita Charanzová speaks out to Firearms United

The Firearms United network – one of the main voices of oppositions to the EU Gun Ban representing gun owners from all around Europe – interviewed Czech MEP Dita Charanzová, shadow rapporteur for ALDE and herself one of the staunchest opponents to the European Commission’s restrictive proposals

Read the whole article with the interview at Gunsweek ( EN | IT )
Read the whole interview in DE | FI | CZ | FR

FIREARMS UNITED (FU): Mrs. Charanzová, how did you live the entire process as a Shadow Rapporteur?

MEP Dita Charanzová (DC): I must say that in my whole presence and work in Brussels – first as an official for Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic, and later as MEP – I never met a proposal that would be this much politicised, especially as the end of negotiations closed in; and I found that very disappointing.

The Commission exerted enormous amounts of pressure to adopt a text that would contain as severe restrictions as possible, and to adopt it as soon as possible, without being able to give any real reason for these restrictions.

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IMCO Vote on 26/01/2017

Tomorrow between 10:00 and 12:30 the comittee IMCO will vote on the compromise of the trilogue. We assume there will be a short debate before the vote  – as usual.

You can download the paper (only in English) here: Click

Again – as in summer 2016 – the Member of IMCO have only an English text to vote on. Again – as in summer 2016 – the paper has been published only some days (20/01/17) before the vote. And we assume – as in summer2016 – the majority will agree to the compromise.

You can see more here: Link to IMCO

You may follow the vote on webstream: LINK

FIREARMS UNITED worked on the compromise the last weeks, visited MEPs in Brussels and our staff is in contacts with several MEPs by email and telephone.

We concentrate our work on these six points:

  1. Collectors, museum & firearms of interest
  2. Loading devices & re-categorization of semi-automatic rifles
  3. Long firearms with folding or removable stocks
  4. Automatic firearms converted to semi-automatic
  5. The Sport Shooters’ exemption & Firearms Pass
  6. Retaining category “D” for 3 groups of firearms

Of course there is no evidence at all to amend the directive. Of course the only rational decision should be rejection of the proposal as well as of the compromise. But as Vicky Ford and Jussi Halla-Aho stated on our conference in November: there is no majority for rejection, most politicians are not interested in this subject and want “to do something against terrorism”. As most politicians do not own guns and don’t know gun owners it is easy for them to ban things they do not “need”.

FIREARMS UNITED will do its very best to change the point of view of the uninterested politicians with facts. “To do something” against legal gun owners is not the best solution in the combat against illicit trafficking of firearms and against terrorism and crime.

You may support our fight by calling the local offices of your MEPs by phone. You can use our impact assessment for arguments. We sent the short version by letter to all MEPs in November.

Be polite! We are not the “aggressive gunlobby” but law abiding citizens who will vote.

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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