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Knee-jerk legislation dropped from EU Firearms Directive

Damaging amendments to EU gun laws have been dropped, thanks to UK MEP Vicky Ford

Man with gun and shot rabbit

A revised set of amendments to the EU Firearms Directive has been drafted, removing some of those proposals that had been criticised as unnecessary restrictions on lawful gun owners. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year, the European Commission brought forward plans to tighten gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic .22 rimfires and new age limitations, despite a lack of support from MEPs.

Vicky Ford MEP chaired the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) as it steered through revisions to the proposed Firearms Directive amendments.

Thanks to her work, and that of the committee, .22 rimfires, which are widely used for pest control in the UK, will no longer be restricted and shooters under the age of 18 may continue to possess their own firearms.

If passed into European law this autumn, this updated directive will now largely focus on closing loopholes around deactivated and imitation firearms while introducing controls around high-capacity semi-automatics.

Ms Ford praised shooting groups for their help during the revisions: “I am very grateful to the many stakeholder groups and shooting organisations who have given expert guidance.”

“A huge debt of thanks is owed by the shooting community to Vicky Ford MEP”

Matt Perring, BASC senior firearms officer, reciprocated: “[We are] pleased that these proposals focus on illicit weapons rather than law-abiding gun ownership. The original proposals were a knee-jerk response to terror attacks and would have forced unintended consequences on legitimate gun owners, including sporting shooters, collectors and the trade.

“Vicky Ford must be congratulated for her hard work in ensuring that the voice of legitimate shooting organisations throughout Europe was heard in this matter.”

The Countryside Alliance agreed. A spokesman commented: “A huge debt of thanks is owed by the shooting community to Vicky Ford MEP, who has consulted widely and led this process in the European Parliament.

“The revised amendments to the Firearms Directive are now clearly focused on tackling illicit firearms and closing loopholes in the law, not placing unnecessary restrictions on legitimate shooters,” he continued.