Shooting groups have appealed to politicians not to make any “knee-jerk” reactions, in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, as the EU brings forward moves to tighten gun laws.

EU ministers met at a crisis meeting on Friday and, at the time of writing, were expected to suggest new rules making it more difficult to acquire weapons and to track them more easily.

The European Commission has been working since 2013 to create common minimum standards across the EU on deactivation of weapons, and on a review of existing legislation on firearms. An EU official last week said that the work on this is now being “significantly accelerated”.

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, commented: “The tragic events in Paris mean that rules surrounding firearms are understandably uppermost in politicians’ minds, however we ask that these crisis talks do not lead to unnecessary regulations for law-abiding firearms owners.

Address illegal firearms

“The Firearms Directive is currently under review and recent events will undoubtedly speed up this process. However the Alliance believes this is the wrong tactic and that new legislation should instead be produced dealing specifically with terrorism and the illegal trafficking of firearms. This would then not affect legal firearms holders but would address illegal firearms.

“We would like to see a sensible approach at Friday’s emergency meeting, with no knee-jerk or poorly-informed decisions made that could affect legal shooting.”

 Christopher Graffius, BASC director of communications, added: “This discussion has been going on for some time, since before the European elections.

“BASC did a lot of lobbying with FACE (The European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation) to ensure that this initiative would only apply to military weapons that could be used by terrorists and not to sporting firearms.

“The commission agreed that they would do this with a light touch, but obviously in the light of the Paris killings it’s important that there are no over-reactions which might impact on sporting firearms and we will be working with FACE to ensure that is the case.”

  • Brendan Townsend

    The only thing that psychopathic mass-shootings teach us is that guns in the hands of twisted individuals kill people – NOT that the dangers are suddenly elevated by licensed responsible gun owners.

    I hope that sensible moderation prevails, and that those responsible for making judgements and regulations have a both a handle on the UK’s exemplary gun safety record and an empathy for our sport, which continues to embrace and develop responsible newcomers without media-driven judgementalism.

  • John Cross

    Tighten gun laws in order to stop criminals who illegally obtained weapons…. Where is the logic in this? If anything French citizens definitely need guns for armed self defence, the government is putting their own citizens in danger.

  • House MD

    The original point I believe is that it won’t do anything to prevent a crime from occurring. What usually happens is a restriction on the rights of everyone else. Have another look through the firearms act, to me it looks like a piece of reactionary activism with a pinch of blatant lobbying.

    For example, any “rifled gun” capable of firing semi automatically is restricted under section 5… EXCEPT anything in .22 rimfire. This includes air weapons by the way.

    I’d imagine the argument for restricting semi automatic firearms has to do with rate of fire and the potential lethality associated with that. Well a .22LR going through your head will kill you just the same as a 5.56 or 12.7 (the latter being a LOT harder to handle and shoot well in a rampage due to weight). Non licensed air rifles and pistols on the other hand barely have enough energy to break skin, never mind kill someone, but under that rule they’re treated the same as centrefire firearms. There’s no logical reason to have essentially a blanket ban with a special exception for .22 rimfire, Sounds to me like whoever wrote that rule had a vested interest in keeping .22 rimfire semi automatics under section 1, but didn’t much care about anything else.

    As you can imagine this creates quite a bit of hassle for law abiding shooters while being as good as useless. In addition, a criminal (not generally known to obey laws) can import (or otherwise acquire) a section 5 weapon and go on a suicidal rampage anyway.

    Reactionary legislation rarely ever achieves its goals and always has unintended consequences. Usually you end up disenfranchising law abiding citizens and opening up a lot of potential for abuse.

    Unfortunately politicians really don’t care about or understand the concepts of reason, logic and high standards of evidence. They don’t put much stake in understanding the problem before attempting to solve it either, which is why we have either grossly overreaching laws or completely anaemic ones (remember Cameron’s internet censorship?)

  • Draz J Ekiel

    Stricter punishment for being caught with them, smuggling them, rearming them if they have been deactivated. and using them in crimes…etc
    More refined laws on what needs to be done to a firearm to class it as deactivated.. In the UK in the past, all you had to do was remove the firing pin, then it was weld something into the barrel to block it and remove the firing pin, then they changed it again, as that was easily reversed. Now its impossible to reactivate firearms that have been disactivated in the UK.

    Non of the above would effect law abiding gun owners, and all would help to some extent.

  • marcusandronicus

    What gun laws cover criminals and terrorists with illegal AK-47’s.??