There are about 81 million illegal firearms across the EU – according to a Commission study. Plus there are incredibly different rules on what defines a “decommissioned” a.k.a “made-not-to-function-anymore” weapon: “A decommissioned firearm in Denmark means the weapon has been sawed in half. In the Netherlands, its parts have been welded together. In Slovakia, decommissioned guns can easily be restored to kill.” (Politico)
The Commission actually already announced this proposal in April 2015 in its European Security Agenda but due to the recent terrorist attacks the law was somewhat accelerated.
If the proposal gets adopted without changes and you are currently owning a semi-automatic rifle you will have to return it to the authorities as you will not be allowed to keep the weapon. If you don’t own a gun and have no intention to do so and just downright don’t like them then these Commission proposals are good news because they could be a first step towards a Europe with less active weapons. And less violence.
New rules for deactivated weapons will be introduced right away (no need for the Parliament and Council to approve them). However, other proposals, including a ban on semi-automatic weapons, will have to be debated and approved by the European Parliament and Council.
The goal is to get rid of different regulations in EU Member States by harmonizing the rules:
However, MEPs introduced some exemptions in their report, especially for sport shooters, military reservists, museums and collectors - under strict conditions.
The responsible Rapporteur Vicky Ford's (ECR, UK) report got adopted in July 2016. The Council also agreed on a negotiation position and Trialogues started in autumn 2016. In December 2016 a provisional deal was reached which was confirmed by a vote in the EP plenary in March 2017 and formally approved be the Council of Ministers in April 2017. The Council and the European Parliament now need to sign the adopted directive. The signed text will be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days later. After that, Member States will have 15 months to transpose the new rules into national law.
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