Tag Archives: IMCO

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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“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.

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.

Impact Assessment – Delivered!

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:

The short version of our impact assessment: http://bit.ly/2fIAFru

The full version of our impact assessment: http://bit.ly/2fzOESO

Our letter to the MEPs

Thanks to efforts of the volunteers, there was also a hard copy of the shorter version printed out and mailed to each of the MEPs with this letter: Continue reading

UN and EU Firearms Expert Suspected for Distribution of Illegal Firearms

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…

S.Vandamme

Read more in the news:

Détournement d’armes au banc d’épreuves de Liège: Jean-Luc Stassen était expert pour l’ONU et l’Union Européenne

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.

Weapons proofhouse of Liège: arrest warrant issued for director

Le directeur du banc d’épreuves des armes de Liège placé sous mandat d’arrêt

Directeur van Wapenproefbank in Luik gearresteerd

Finnish Organizations Issue a joint statement about firearms directive

Finnish organizations have together issued a joint statement to Vicky Ford, the shadow rapporteurs and to the trilogue-participating members of the Commission about the firearms directive proposal:

Dear Ms. Ford and the rapporteurs for the firearms directive:

First of all, we would like to sincerely thank you for the great work you have done so far to improve the technically misguided directive-draft 91/477/EEC Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons presented by the commission. The hard work you have done has not gone unnoticed among the hunters, sport shooters, firearms collectors, reservists and recreational shooters.

We, the undersigned organizations in Finland represent over 600 000 law-abiding firearms owners that have been following the process closely. Even though the current draft is better than the original, it still leaves some room for improvement. We have observed that the process and the proposal of the commission has already shifted the opinions of firearms owners towards euroscepticism and we wish that we would work together to prevent this from becoming a major trend among the citizens.

Currently the following parts of the proposal are generally viewed as unfounded:

  • Magazine restrictions have been tried before, but they have not had any impact on security merely harassment of law-abiding shooters.
  • Firearms categorization by non-technical criteria makes unambiguous interpretation of law impossible.
  • Length restrictions

The criteria above do not make firearm any more or less dangerous, and based on material we have seen so far, the proposal is not supported by facts or statistics, but instead driven by ideological reasons – which should not be the case in legislation.

We are also concerned about the mandatory maximum duration of firearms permit. Finland is a small country and the resources of our authorities are already stretched quite thin to maintain public security. Periodic renewal process would force government to allocate more resources into maintaining the permits which means diverting the resources and budget away from real problem, preventing the movement of the illegal firearms. A major problem these days is the lack of resources of the law enforcement for solving real crimes.

We wish you all the best of luck for the ongoing trilogues and sincerely hope that you can address the points listed above. We are also willing to support you in this process with free technical consultation. Please advise us how we can best be of assistance. Our liaisons in this matter are …

The statement above was signed pretty much by all significant associations, including hunters, firearms dealers, sport shooters, reserve organizations, firearms collectors and even air gunners, as well as FIREARMS UNITED.

finnish-against-eugunban

What Kind of Firearms Directive could Emerge from the Trilogue?

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:

  1. Will the directive apply to military reserve and voluntary defense organizations?
  2. Markings on firearms
  3. Authorization and medical review
  4. Collectors and museums
  5. Excemptions
  6. Magazines
  7. Firearms passport
  8. Transitional period
  9. 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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salami-tactic

IMCO’s Statement of First Trilogue Meeting

On 29th of September Vicky Ford (Rapporteur, ECR) and Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (Shadow Rapporteur, EPP) gave an update on the trialogue for the amendments of the Firearms Directive. You can follow her speech in this webstream at the beginning of the meeting during the first seven minutes.

imco-trialog-web

Links to webstream: here or here

Read more: summary of her speech and our opinion

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Back to the core business – Summary from Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Vote on opening the Interinstitutional Negotiations on the Control of Accquisition and Possession of Weapons at IMCO meeting on 5th of September 2016

Original videolink can be found from here: Link

Transcript

[Timestamps: 1:35:10 – 1:39:45]

[Skipping the administrative matters and going straight to the interesting part.]
—————————————————————

MEP Vicky Ford, Chairman (Conservatives and Reformists):
Before we vote, I’m going to give the floor to Dita Charanzová who’s asked for the floor.

MEP Dita Charanzová (Liberals and Democrats) :
Thank you Madame Chair. Before we proceed to the vote, I just would like to reiterate my concerns I already raised regarding the forthcoming Interinstitutional Negotiations. Czech gun holders and many others keep sending to me worried messages about the impact of this proposal – and I think we should not neglect them. To address their concerns, we need to make sure that our discussions are truly fact-based, and well informed. So, that’s why I would like to urge the Commission to provide us as much relevant information from ALL Member States as soon as possible, but definitely before any talks on categorization of firearms start.

Our aim, I think, has to be to reach an outcome of the negotiations which will not punish ordinary citizens. Thank you.

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