BASC welcomes EU firearms proposals

BASC welcomes the position adopted by a European Parliament committee which will prevent a ban on firearms used by those who shoot.

Vicky Ford MEP chaired the Internal Market Committee (IMCO) as it steered through suggested changes to European Commission amendments to the firearms directive.

The effect of these changes will ensure amendments which would have damaged shooting are not taken forward.

If passed into European law as expected this autumn, this updated directive will largely focus on closing loopholes around deactivated and imitation firearms while also introducing robust controls around high capacity semi-automatic firearms. This is an attempt to prevent access to the sort of weapons used in recent terror attacks.

This final amended directive means that .22 rimfire rifles used for pest control in the UK will not be caught up in new restrictions. IMCO’s latest position also reaffirms that those under the age of 18 may continue to possess their own firearms.

Matt Perring, BASC’s senior firearms officer, said: “BASC is pleased that these proposals focus on illicit weapons rather than law-abiding gun ownership. The original proposals were a knee-jerk response to recent 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 Commission’s original proposal was poorly drafted in many parts, but she ensured those issues were adequately addressed.”

BASC chairman Peter Glenser said: “It is important to close loopholes which allow firearms to fall into the hands of terrorists. But it is also essential that new laws do not unfairly penalise those who wish to shoot for sport or for a living.

“Vicky Ford has been a steadying influence throughout all the stages of the process and I’m sure she will continue with this approach as talks start with EU governments to deliver the final directive.

“Whatever the outcome of Britain’s membership of the European Union, it is crucial that BASC continues to work with decision makers in Europe. It is business as usual.”

For more information, please contact BASC's press office on 01244 573007