UK politicians and shooting organisations have rejected plans put forward by the European Commission to rewrite the EU Firearms Directive by 2015. The proposal by the Home Affairs Directorate General of the European Commission (DG Home) comes after it received more than 80,000 responses to a consultation on the subject, but claimed that they were not “representative of a cross-section of the general public” (News, 16 October).
The UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Shooting and Conservation, which is made up of MPs and peers, now plans to write to Home Secretary Theresa May to ask her to make representations to the European Commission on the group’s behalf. The group made the decision after it heard from the European Federation of unting & Conservation (FACE).
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, who chairs the All Party Group, said: “As Manuel Esparrago, head of political affairs at FACE, made clear, the Commission is making these proposals without any evidence. This is an appalling way to legislate and is why the EU gets such a bad name in this country. The Commissioner should admit that these changes are unnecessary and quietly drop them.”
One of the reasons DG Home wants to revise the Firearms Directive is its claim that there is a direct link between legal firearms ownership and criminal use of guns, though there is no evidence to support this. FACE said it believes that the current Directive is robust and that it is up to member states to meet the standards it specifies.
BASC director of firearms Bill Harriman said: “The UK has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world, which, in many instances, already exceed the requirements of the European Firearms Directive. There is no evidence to justify many of the claims made by the Home Affairs Directorate of the Commission about the criminal misuse of guns and all policy must be based on sound evidence.”
He added: “Lawfully owned and used firearms are not the problem. Trying to tackle gun crime by increasing restrictions on lawful use has failed many more times than it has succeeded.”