Just as the European gun owners community feared, the modifications to the European firearms directive were approved without amendments – a slap in the face of the so-called European democracy and to the civil rights of millions of gun owners Europe-wide
Despite the engagement and efforts of many Members of the European Parliament, who criticized and opposed what has now come to ignominy as the "EU Gun Ban", the comprimise text as agreed upon by the so-called "Trilogue" back in December was adopted yesterday morning by the European Parliament; all amendments proposed by many groups have been rejected, and now the Member States will have 15 months of time to receive it with a national laws and 30 months to implement it.
The European Parliament ultimately failed the citizens of the Union by not attempting to amend the text further in order to remove serious pitfalls that may come to haunt law-abiding gun owners in the future; it also failed the citizens of Europe by choosing political exigency over civil liberties and not being bold enough to consign this legislative mess to the rubbish bin where it belongs.
However the biggest loser in this entire process has been the EU itself and its credibility with millions of honest citizens like you who will neither forget nor forgive it for the way it has treated them.
With its vote, the European Parliament decided that democracy and justice in Europe do not exist, and that not all European citizens are created equal.
Terrorists and criminals are thankful.
What did they take, this time?
First of all, it's necessary to make it clear to our readers that nothing is lost yet.
The Member States will have fifteen months to pass a law that will receive the directive in their national laws, and thirty months to implement it later. The Member States also have full discretion to implement terms that will reach the scope of the directive, regardless of how.
This means that the Member States can actually safeguard the Status Quo and the rights of their citizens, at a certain extent.
Of course, now, all will depend from the will of the national governments to safeguard the constitutional rights of their citizens.
Some, like the French Government, will be eager to pass the restrictions found in the text in the most restrictive way. But others governments are already gearing up to safeguard the rights of their citizens at the highest extent.
The European Commission lost its crazy bid to confiscate the legal property and destroy the passions of millions of sport shooters, hunters and collectors who legitimately own and use firearms.
But as much important as well, the European Commission has lost its crazed bid to destroy historical firearms in museums and private collections.
It lost all this in spite of slandering honest citizens, lying consistently and presenting false statistical data.
- There will be no total ban and mass confiscation of "Category B7" modern sporting firearms, both working and deactivated
- There will be no total ban and mass confiscation of firearms that can accept magazines over 10 rounds in capacity
- There will be no total ban and mass confiscation or mandatory deactivation of historical and modern automatic firearms kept by museums or by private collectors for cultural and research purposes
- There will be no total ban of all realistic imitations of automatic firearms
- There will be no mandatory medical and psychological tests for gun owners
SO, WHAT HAS BEEN BANNED EXACTLY?
Those are the demilitarized firearms: those guns (mostly centerfire) that were originally automatic and used by military and Police organizations, then sold away by the Governments, purchased by distributors, converted to semi-automatic only and sold on the civilian market.
No new demilitarized firearm will enter the civilian market after each Member State accepts and implements the directive. However, the text approved by the European Parliament includes a "grandfathering clause" that allows existing demilitarized firearms to remain in their current category: owners will be able to keep them, use them, sell them away and even pass them as a heirloom.
Modern replicas of those firearms, even those built with a small number of components from the original firearms, are not considered demilitarized firearms and thus are not covered by this prohibition.
This category will cover all semi-automatic centerfire handguns and long guns when fitted with a magazine holding over 10 rounds of ammunition for long guns or over 20 rounds of ammunition for handguns.
The directive as approved by the European Parliament clearly specifies that the compatibility of a firearms with a "high capacity magazine" is not sufficient to ban a firearm.
This means that a firearm turns into an A7 only in the specific moment when a "high capacity magazine" is inserted, and reverts to the original category when said magazine is removed.
It is basically a prohibition on ownership and use of "high capacity magazines" rather than of firearms – but a prohibition whose implementation would require a cop to be permanently on duty at every shooting lane in Europe.
As a matter of fact, the text approved yesterday by the European Parliament allows the Member States to exempt "sport shooters" from said prohibition, which also has another flaw that makes it even more unappliable: most Member States can not know how many magazines, and of what capacity, their citizens already have, and in many Countries such a prohibition may not be retroactive by Constitution.
While originally the exemption would cover only those shooters who actively engaged in competition shooting, now this is only one of the many reasons why the Member States can grant an exception from the mentioned prohibition.
Depending from the implementation and the will of each national Government, said magazines could be banned altogether by some Member States or remain available to all gun license holders in others. It will be up to the gun owners of every single European Country to watch and lobby for a permissive implementation; and nonetheless, it will be a step in the wrong direction – a further step away from harmonization of gun laws in the Member States.
A new category of banned firearms includes those long guns whose length can be reduced under an overall of 60 centimetres through the use of a folding, telescoping, or easily removable stock.
While the authors of this norm clearly aimed at banning all short-barrel rifles, the implementation in the 28 (27, after Brexit) Member States will be much harder that it seems – and again, a step away from harmonization.
In some Member States, the firearms that would now be inserted in Category A8 are considered handguns, not long guns, because while some Countries classify as a "long gun" any firearm with a stock, others consider a long gun just those whose barrel length exceeds 30 centimetres.
It's thus clear that this norm could have been tailored to suit the needs of some Member States that have long been trying to ban short-barrel rifles – namely France and Germany.
The outcome of yesterday's vote definitely leaves a bad taste in our mouths, but there is a reason to see the glass half full.
First of all, it should be pointed out that 129 Members of the European Parliament voted to reject the proposal outright and 178 MEPs voted for Dita Charanzová's motions to amend; that was not enough to grant success, but it was a true political revolution if compared to what happened during the 2008 revision of the European firearms directive – when MEPs voted unanimously at the EP committees to give the Commission 100% of what it wanted, and when the votes against at the plenary were only nineteen overall.
Definitely, the names of the MEPs (and their parties) who voted against of millions of law-abiding European citizens will remain fixed in the minds of those who care about their civil rights. You can find them right underneath this text block: remember them, and next time you cast your vote, make sure that the MEPs and groups that voted in favour of this abomination, and the European Union as a whole, will be sorry to haver turned millions of its citizens into enemies of a united Europe with a simple vote.
With many Member States facing elections in the coming months, today's vote at the European Parliament turned into another blow to the already shaky credibility and popularity of the European Union. And should those elections result in a triumph of the so-called "Populist Eurosceptic Right wing", the EU establishment will have no-one to blame but themselves.
Plus, and that's worth pointing out, for the first time in its history, Europe has its own unitary gun rights advocacy group – an entity that has been fighting against the EU gun ban ever since it was first proposed back in November 2015. This was theirs first fight, but they succeeded in watering down the proposal significantly, fighting with very little money, experience, and connections within the European institutions.
How powerful will the European "gun lobby" grow with the reaction of European gun owners? And how will the gun grabbers in Brussels, Strasbourg and in the national capitols of the Member States deal with it? For sure, Firearms United is not going away and is not giving up the fight.