After a year of discussions, the Parliament and the Council have finally reached a provisional political agreement on the Firearms Directive, as proposed by the Commission in November 2015. The purpose of the revision is to make it harder to legally acquire high capacity weapons in the European Union, to allow better tracking of legally held firearms thus reducing the risk of diversion into illegal markets, and to strengthen cooperation between Member tates.
President Juncker recalled how hard it was to reach a deal that:
“reduces the risk of shootings in schools, summer camps or terrorist attacks with legally held firearms. Of course we would have liked to go further, but I am confident that the current agreement represents a milestone in gun control in the EU.”
The provisional political agreement retains a majority of what the Commission originally proposed, such as the ban of automatic firearms transformed into semiautomatic firearms, the inclusion of collectors and museums in the scope of the directive, the regulation of alarm and acoustic weapons, the regulation of Internet sales, the regulation of deactivated weapons and more exchange of information between Member States.
At the same time, the Commission regrets that some parts of its proposal, such as a complete ban of the most dangerous semiautomatic firearms, including all semi-automatic firearms of the AK47 or AR15 families and a ban of assault weapons for private collectors were not supported by the Parliament and the Council. The Commission also regrets that he magazine size was not limited to 10 rounds for all semi-automatic firearms However, considering that the overall package is an improvement compared to the current situation, the Commission can accept the compromise found.
The preliminary political agreement reached by the Parliament, the Council and the Commission early December, was confirmed by the COREPER just befor Chrismas and it is now subject to confirmation by the EU Parliament’s Internal Market Committee at its meeting in January, and subsequently to a plenary vote of the European Parliament and formal approval by the EU Council of Ministers.