The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Shooting groups help shape EU firearms review

BASC and the Countryside Alliance have pushed for a review of proposed changes to the European Firearms Directive in a recent meeting with MEP Vicky Ford

BASC and the Countryside Alliance (CA) have argued for a review of proposed changes to the European Firearms Directive, in a recent meeting with MEP Vicky Ford, who is leading the European Parliament’s scrutiny of the proposals.

Plans to tighten European gun laws were made following the shootings at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in January 2015. But they were brought forward by the European Union’s legislative body, the European Commission, following a second attack in the French capital in November.

Knee-jerk reactions

BASC and the CA previously appealed to politicians not to make any knee-jerk reactions that would make things more difficult for legitimate UK firearms owners, without doing anything to combat illegal trafficking and terrorism.

The Countryside Alliance’s Jack Knott, who attended the meeting, said that Ms Ford was very receptive “The round-table event was a success. We got our views over to Vicky Ford and it was encouraging to hear her say that the current proposals are ‘a rushed text with a number of unintended consequences’.

“It was clear that the committee and Ms Ford are more than happy to listen to our concerns, and more importantly, now understand the consequences of each of the proposals and all potential logical alternatives. We will be co-ordinating all our efforts and tabling our amendments through FACE UK (Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation) and will keep our members up to date throughout the process.’

Complex issues being discussed

BASC’s senior firearms officer Matt Perring, who also attended the round-table session, agreed: “There are significantly complex issues being discussed, but I am confident that we can get our views and the views of our members understood and help shape the debate. It was clear that Ms Ford is consulting widely across Europe, and is seeking to support the legitimate interests of shooters in the UK where these are based on evidence.”

The next exchange of views on the European Firearms Directive will be towards the end of February and a formal hearing in the European Parliament is likely in mid-March. Adoption of any changes is expected to take place in the summer.

Some of the proposed changes to the European Firearms Directive

■ The restriction of licences to five years, which would be a setback to BASC’s recent work to introduce 10- year licences (News, 2 December).

■ The introduction of a standard medical test, possibly beyond what is currently required by shooters, for everyone applying for or renewing a firearms licence.

■ A ban on semi-automatic firearms for civilians. Most semi-automatic shotguns will not be affected.
■ A ban on the ownership of EU category A firearms (such as machine guns), even those that have been deactivated.

■ New shooting restrictions for those under the age of 18.

■ The introduction of “competence checks” for firearms dealers and brokers in addition to safety checks