As you may have noticed, we have not yet reported the exact results of the last Wednesday’s IMCO vote. This is due to two reasons; firstly we are all quite exhausted after the stressful effort to defend our position up to this point and secondly we needed time to analyse the result before rushing in to judge the result.
Rumours of what has actually been banned, if anything, have been circulating together with justified questions about the next steps in this process. These were mainly sparked by conflicting comments made by various MEPs. It is now quite obvious that a considerable number of MEPs did not fully comprehend what they voted for and are even less aware of what the result states.
The prize for the most absurd comment goes to Finnish SnD MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari who immediately declared in the Finnish national news: “It was an excellent compromise. The best parts were the ban of semiautomatic weapons and restricting access to firearms.” This article was understandably swiftly edited and the comment was changed to “It was an excellent compromise. The most important change was restricting access to firearms”. (Source: Yle News of 7th of July 2016 )
These hasty statements highlight the complexity of the voting list and the compromise amendments. Indeed some MEPs expressed their view that this was the most complex voting list that they had ever seen.
Below you will find a short summary of the IMCO opinion based on the notes compiled by Firearms United members and experts who attended the voting session on Wednesday 13th July.
Article in FR : Qu’est-il finalement sorti du vote de la commission IMCO ?
Dear Mrs. Mizzi,
I read your
circular email which repeatedly asks presents a question: What you need it for? My name is David Karasek, a spokesman of Czech firearms rights association, and I am answering your question from an Eastern Europe perspective.
To be honest, your reply angered me at first, but then I thought about it more deeply and I saw that it needs more detailed explanation.
FIREARMS UNITED’s Fighting Fund enabled us to send a team of members and independent experts to Brussels.
The team arrived on Monday to attend important meetings prior to and during the IMCO vote of today.
We thank our donors.
Our special thank goes today to Mikael from Sweden
Mikael invented chamberflags and sold them for 150 SEK (15€) and spent 100 SEK (10€) of each sale to our fighting fund. He distributes them only on matches, not online. But he offers design and contacts for all who want to copy this action – as long as 2/3 is donated to FIREARMS UNITED. So if you wanna copy this action, contact your national chapter or partner.
07.07.2016: Balance 66.600 € (2.059,86 € (20.000 SEK) by Mikael “St.Michael” Schelén and 1000 € by a Finnish citizen)
Reliable sources have warned us that several important amendments from the original 847 proposed by IMCO MEPs are likely to end up in badly-drafted Compromise Amendments.
It would appear that the positive stand originally taken by EPP, ECR and ALDE has been watered down to garner the support of S&D and the Greens as well as to align the final IMCO report with the General Approach approved by Council.
FIREARMS UNITED has worked ceaselessly over the past weeks to analyse the Amendments and to inform its supporters. Two summaries are provided which are the result of the views of our working team and partners. Being work in progress we may at this stage still have differing views.
Expert Opinion of Firearms United
Text proposed to be deleted from the 1991 version is highlighted in red as is text that the Commission wants to add to introduce disproportionate measures affecting legal gun owners that have no benefit to improving public security. Text which in our opinion represents a sensible solution is marked in blue as is our opinion and justification,
You may share this one and attach it to your emails if you wish to circulate.
The General Approach approved by the Council of Ministers leads to a public outcry over useless measures against legal firearm ownership with little or no effect on criminal and terrorist activity.
Criticism has been voiced by associations of stakeholders as well as some police forces and local media, in other words those who understand the impact of the amendments and their enforcement.
Support for the Council’s position comes from advocates of stricter firearm control who display an abysmal lack of knowledge about the actual directive, the amendments and particularly about the clear distinction between legal firearm ownership and criminality.
German State Secretary Emily Haber was naively pleased that “in future all firearms will be registered”. The Socialist group’s “gun control expert” Evelyne Gebhardt (SPD, DE), wants to ban illicit manufacturers who illegally modify weapons and sell them over the illegal darknet (meaning that she expects criminals to observe measures which are already banned under the current Directive. Commissioner Avramopoulos (DG Home) used Orlando, Paris I and II (and in the past even Brussels when bombs but no firearms were used) as a reason for banning legally-held firearms to stop terrorism and crime – he does not want any firearm which looks alike AK-47 or AR15 in civilian hands. In practice this means the banning of the modern sporting rifles used by law-abiding citizens.
Do these people live in the real world? Thankfully they are far from winning the war. The process has a long way to go and we are turning the tide.
We must convince the majority of MEPs (more than 350) that in the absence of an impact assessment the Commission proposal violates the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality and the damage to law-abiding citizens and business far outweigh the minimal impact on terrorism and crime.
We are spurred on by our victory during the LIBE vote on 9th May when MEPs rejected most of the unreasonable amendments. Moreover the debate in IMCO is moving in our direction and we must press on for a full rejection in the vote of 14th July.
Thanks to new information we have updated “Legislative Procedure for the Firearms Directive 2.0″
Download Slide Show: PPP – Download: PDF
For those who do not have enough time to go through the document we are providing pictures of the presentation. However, the links will only work in the downloads.
Article in DE | FR
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.
Conservative MEP Christofer Fjellner from Sweden found the right words.
Snippets of his speech:
- Instead of getting to the real problem with illegal guns all of the proposal hits the legal guns and has no impact on terrorists or criminals at all.
- 5-years-licenses, medical exams, hindering distance trade and banning certain semi-automatics won’t stop terrorists but hit hard the law abiding gunowners
- How many crimes could be linked to legally-held firearms? How big is the problem?
- How many firearms were affected by the ban? How many will be banned?
- If Commission cannot answer these both simple question, we should reject proposal.
- You missed the target (illicit trafficking) by miles!
Read more of Commissioner’s speech: FACE: Commissioner Bieńkowska’s 100.000 deaths unfounded
The next MEP – after Christofer Fjellner (SE) – rejects the proposal: Jussi Halla-aho (FI)
Snippets of his speech:
- The large number of ammendments is encouraging as many of them address the most excessive and disproportional details in the proposal. The rapporteur has also generally done a good job.
- We should reject not only the proposed and unjustified ban on semi-automatic sporting rifles that are subcategorized A6 and A7, but also the proposed recategorisation of legal firearms as a whole.
This rejection has already been done by LIBE.
- We also should reject the nearly total ban of category A firearms which would lead to destruction of valuable historical collections. These weapons are not used in crime and are already strictly controlled.
This ban was also rejected by LIBE.
- We should reject mandatory time limits for licenses and medical checks because they only lead to more bureaucrazy and inconveniece without impact on crime.
These were rejected by LIBE.
- I support to reject the whole proposal as it violates all principles of good regulation.
- The Commission tried to took advantage of the tragic event in Paris last November to push through a largely ideological anti-firearm proposal.
This has greatly damaged the image and credibility of the EU.
- The attitude of the Commission in the Committee hearings has been incredible.
It is now up to the Parliament to try and undo that damage.
Snippets of MEP Richard Sulik’s speech
- The European Commission is trying to restrict people’s personal freedoms.
- No terrorist is going to get a weapon at a normal dealer.
- I thank the rapporteur for her hard work to remove the nonsense from the proposal.
- Ms Bieńkowska suprised me yesterday, when she said, that we don’t need so many weapons. Surely citizen’s freedom should be more important than the Commission’s opinion.
- The ladies and gentlemen sitting in the Commission seem to be acting like gods.
- I would be happiest if the whole directive were to be withdrawn.
Read more of her speech: FACE: Commissioner Bieńkowska’s 100.000 deaths unfounded