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Dhaka Tribune

European Commission proposes to strengthen gun control

Update : 20 Nov 2015, 07:33 PM

Q1. What is the extent of the problem?

There is little official data on the types of firearms circulating in the EU, weapons illegally used and trafficked, and criminal offences and activities involving civilian firearms. However, it has become clear that gaps in the current legislation on firearms and shortcomings in its implementation at national level make us vulnerable to criminal activity and have an impact on the overall level of security of EU citizens. The EU Firearms Directive defines the rules under which private persons can acquire and possess weapons, as well as the transfer of firearms to another EU country. The Commission’s report has identified obstacles to tracing firearms and law enforcement due to differences across member states regarding the marking of weapons, the categorisation and registration of firearms and deactivation standards, as well as lack of interconnection of national tracking and data-filing systems.

Under the current legal framework, deactivated firearms are not considered firearms anymore. They can therefore freely move within the internal market. They are also erased from the official register making it impossible to trace them to their current or original owner. Recent terrorist attacks or attempted attacks included the use of firearms that had been incorrectly deactivated or firearms assembled with badly deactivated components.

Q2. What changes to the Firearms Directive the EC proposed?

The Commission tabled proposals to amend the EU Firearms Directive, the main objectives of which are--

To make it more difficult to acquire firearms, including deactivated firearms

Stricter conditions for the online acquisition of firearms and ammunitions

Certain semi-automatic firearms will not, under any circumstances, be allowed to be held by private persons, even if they have been permanently deactivated

The inclusion of blank-firing weapons (e.g. alarm, signaling, life-saving weapons) in the firearms category because of their potential to be transformed into firearms

National registries should keep records of deactivated firearms and their owners.

Under no circumstances will civilians be authorised to own any of the most dangerous firearms (e.g. a Kalashnikov), which is currently possible if they have been deactivated.

The enforcement of the ban is a national responsibility, and member states have all necessary tools at their disposal including the destruction of illegally held deactivated arms

Stronger cooperation between member states

Better exchange of information between member states

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