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Updated EU rules on import and export of firearms

EU updated rules on import and export of firearms.

An estimated 35 million illegal firearms are owned by civilians in the EU, representing over half of all firearms.

firearms in the European Union
Photo Credit: Unsplash

The new rules will include:

  • Clear and common procedures for import, export, and transit of firearms

  • A new EU electronic licensing system for import and export authorisations, replacing paper-based applications

  • Administrative simplifications for hunters, sport shooters and exhibitors when temporarily importing or exporting firearms

  • Strict standards for alarm and signal weapons, to avoid them being converted into lethal firearms

  • Stricter rules on semi-finished firearms components, to avoid them turning into unregistered home-made firearms

  • An end-user certificate for the more dangerous firearms, to reduce the risk of diversion to the black market after export

  • Strict checks on refusals to grant authorisations, to avoid individuals ‘shopping’ around in the EU

The updated rules will bring increased security for all those living in the EU, smoother procedures for legal gun owners such as hunters and sport shooters and reduced administrative burden for manufacturers and dealers.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “Firearms trafficking feeds organised crime within the EU and breeds political instability in the EU's neighbourhood. With the development of fast parcel delivery and of new technologies, trafficking of firearms is taking new forms to escape controls. As legislators, we need to catch up. The reform we are proposing will close down the loopholes in the existing rules which are often circumvented, leading to firearms being smuggled and diverted into the EU.”

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Criminals are constantly changing how they smuggle deadly weapons into the European Union. We need to stay one step ahead. EU internal security to reduce the illegal use and trafficking of firearms must be built on good law enforcement cooperation, good intelligence, and transparent procedures. This proposal does that. Today's proposal also simplifies rules for legitimate firearms owners and businesses.”

Next steps

It is now for the European Parliament and the Council to examine the proposal. Once adopted, the rules will be directly applicable across the EU.

Source: European Union DOI:10.2837/856425

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