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“Help us improve EU firearms legislation”, urges Conservative MEP

23 February 2016

Gun owners are being urged to engage positively with efforts to amend EU legislation aimed at keeping firearms out of terrorists’ hands.

Gun owners are being urged to engage positively with efforts to amend EU legislation aimed at keeping firearms out of terrorists’ hands.

ECR MEP Vicky Ford, who is steering the changes through the European Parliament as rapporteur, said although many organisations had contacted her to strongly oppose the European Commission’s initial proposals, few had yet put forward alternative ideas.

“Many people are worried about the consequences of what are clearly poorly drafted proposals that need a lot of work,” she said. “The absence of an impact assessment makes our work even harder.

“To those who are following this process I say we hear your concerns. We have all had lots of emails telling us what’s wrong, we now need suggestions on how we can make it better. Please don’t threaten us as Members of the Parliament, we are trying to help.”

The amendments to the EU’s Firearms Directive target Category A semi-automatic weapons in the wake of November’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

However, Mrs Ford told members of the Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee today that while the existing law contained loopholes enabling disabled weapons to be reconverted and brought back into use, the Commission’s proposals as currently framed would affect re-enactors, museums and even military reservists.

She added: “The proposed complete ban on Category A firearms even if deactivated would in my view have serious negative consequences for people like re-enactors. This can be addressed by clear, robust deactivation standards. Furthermore, the removal of special exemptions would impact forensic laboratories, proof houses, military armourers and many others. This is not workable.”

The next stage of the process will see the Committee stage a public hearing on the proposals in Brussels on March 15 involving experts from each interested sector.

“I want to make sure that as many different concerns, and possible suggestions for changes, are heard at that meeting,” said Mrs Ford, Conservative MEP for Eastern England.

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