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.
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 (!!!)
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
Collectors, museum & firearms of interest
Loading devices & re-categorization of semi-automatic rifles
Long firearms with folding or removable stocks
Automatic firearms converted to semi-automatic
The Sport Shooters’ exemption & Firearms Pass
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.
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”.
Estas son las 12.000 armas, algunas capaces de derribar aeronaves, intervenidas al crimen organizado. Su precio: 10 mill € en mercado negro pic.twitter.com/iJwcC3PGz9
The Conference organized by FESAC, AACTS, AMACS and Firearms United in Malta has attracted media attention – in addition to hall full of firearms enthusiasts and foreign guests from many organizations in Europe!
Nothing in the directive is yet settled, and even the trilogue is still formally ongoing before the parliament approves the current “compromise”. Malta is in key position, because they are taking over EU presidency for the next six months and one of the more challenging areas is the new firearms directive proposal, so the conference was an excellent event, where the message from the shooters was sent to the authorities – loud and clear.
The Maltese organizations spared no effort or expense setting up the conference on saturday, and as you can see from the pictures, they had even organized an exhibit where they showed priceless historical artifacts that were originally sentenced to be destroyed by the commission.
In these days of information technology words travel quickly and hence it is hardly surprising that many Europeans are well aware that the EU-Commission and you personally are putting pressure upon the European Parliament to concede to your demands regarding the Firearms Directive.
The latter can at first glance only be described as a work of haste since it was presented only a few days after the grusome terrorist acts in Paris. However, people like myself that have been involved in safeguarding law abiding citizens rights regarding firearms for some years are very much aware that the EU-Commission only seized the correct moment in order to implement a political agenda that lacks empirical substance.
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: