During the last decade, E.U. member-states have had to transpose a wave of restrictive measures imposed by the E.U. Commission in order to unreasonably restrict E.U. citizens’ access to firearms.
In 2013, Swedish MEP Cecilia Malstromm, the former Commissioner of the DG HOME – Section for Interiors in the European Commission (COM) presented her Proposal to amend Directive 91/477/CEE: a directive that governs the possession and acquisition of firearms for all 27 Member-States of the European Union (then 28).
This proposal would have significantly restricted the ability for law abiding E.U. citizens to own and use guns for legitimate purposes such as: target shooting, hunting, and gun collecting. In the E.U. all approved directives must be adopted by all member-states; otherwise any member-state that doesn't adopt such a directive could receive sanctions, and legal action may be taken against that member-state by the European Commision, through the European Court of Justice.
“FIREARMS UNITED brings together more than 100 million law-abiding gun owners in Europe. These include reservists, hunters, sport shooters, collectors, firearm dealers, manufacturers, security professionals, range operators and ordinary citizens who own not restricted weapons.”
The European Commission, which is not elected by the European electorate, is the only institution of the European Union that is “responsible for planning, preparing and proposing new European legislation”, and this is defined by the E.U. as the “right of initiative” which means that it has the right to act on its own. What is even more outrageous is that the European Parliament cannot initiate legislation on its own: its Members of European Parliament, which are elected by the people in member-states, can only approve or reject directives by a voting majority. If a proposal to amend a directive is poorly worded or drafted, as was the case with the proposal to amend directive 91/477/EEC, then MEPs can only request for amendments.
Given the state of affairs and the lack of democracy of the European Union, eventually an organization by the name of Firearms United came into being: it is a pan-European association based in Poland that defends the legitimate usage of firearms for E.U. citizens. Since 2013, the association currently has member-associations in most of the member-states of the European Union and outside of the European Union as well.
On November 18th, 2015, the European Commission published a draft to amend Directive 91/477/EEC immediately after the November 2015 terrorist attacks that took place in Paris, France. The terrorist attacks, and the ability to convert legal blank-firing guns into firearms capable of firing projectiles were used as a pretext to push through a draft of the proposal.
According to many MEPs, the draft was considered to be poorly drafted and very draconian. The proposal to amend Directive 91/477/EEC required many amendments and public hearings in order to correct the grave errors made during the drafting of the proposal, before the Directive's eventual adoption and transposition into the national laws of all E.U. member-states.
In 2016 and 2017, Firearms United held conferences in order to share its findings and views on the proposed changes. In the end, it concluded that the proposal to amend Directive 91/477/CEE would only affect law-abiding citizens, and would not address the issue of the black market; which is where criminals and terrorists normally procure their weaponry for basic reasons: lack of traceability; access to military grade weapons; fully automatic weapons, and more.
Overall, the new European Firearms Directive did very little to improve the conditions for those who keep firearms and use them for legitimate purposes - instead it has increased the level of bureaucracy and has imposed more restrictions on law-abiding E.U. citizens. As already mentioned, the Commission ignored the issue of the black market, where hundreds of thousands of illegal firearms are in circulation, in fact many were used in the Yugoslavian war of the 1990’s.
The European Union has failed to produce legislation that addresses the link between its open border policy and terrorist attacks. Not only that, but it has been argued that the migrant crisis of 2015 ultimately led to the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union, following the referendum it held on the 23rd of June 2016.
In Southern European countries, hunting is a valuable part of the local economy, and in some cases hunters constitute the majority of those who have firearms licenses. The Directive has made it very difficult for many gun owners to adjust to the new rules. In one instance, Portugal adopted the requirement for all gun owners to own a safe; previously, a safe was only needed if there were more than two firearms at home. In the end, gun owners were given a year after the passing of the new firearms law in order to install a safe, but the police had to extend the deadline due to many gun owners having difficulties with installing their safes.
The E.U. 's anti-gun stance is really just a cover for the U.N.’s plan of action (2002), and the Commission actively pursues its objective of disarming populations throughout the world. In recent years there have been even more attempts by the E.U. Commission to curtail firearms ownership; this time the target is lead ammunition. From 15th February 2023, lead shot will be banned for hunting in the E.U. and according to an impact assessment carried out by an independent party, the ban would be a disaster because:
One out of four hunters would stop hunting, and 30% would hunt less as a result of the ban.
20% have said that they would stop their sport altogether.
34% of all firearms are incompatible with lead free ammunition, this figure includes almost all rimfire guns, which use 22.lr bullets (with lead).
Their replacement would cost 14,5 billion euros.
70% of respondents said they were really concerned that the cost of shooting would increase due to the band in lead.
Overall, the economy of E.U. member-states would lose 5,7 billion euros.
Today, only 30% would be ready to comply with a full lead ammunition ban.
The facts speak for themselves, and clearly demonstrate that the European Union does not have the best interest of its citizens at heart, but instead wants to push forward with its agenda of disarmament; regardless of the cost.