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.”