Proposed amendments to the EU Firearms Directive should have negligible impact on most UK shooters if the current draft is accepted, thanks to the work of Vicky Ford MEP.
Conservative MEP Vicky Ford says she is making “good progress” in her discussions to agree revisions to the EU Firearms Directive. Following the third round of discussions between the European Parliament, Commission and Council, Mrs Ford said the three sides were moving together on a range of issues.
“At the moment, the Parliament is demanding its key positions are met. We are all dedicating significant time towards finalising a text that works for legal holders of firearms and addresses those loopholes and inconsistencies which have existed.”
Plans to tighten EU gun laws were brought forward by the European Commission following the terrorist attacks in Paris last year
While some of the proposals, such as improved traceability of firearms, have been welcomed, others concerning medical tests and age limitations have been criticised by shooting groups and MEPs. They believe that the suggestions restrict legitimate shooters and do nothing to combat terrorism, which was the main objective of the proposed amendments.
Mrs Ford is chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), which has steered through the revisions. Thanks to her work, some of the proposed restrictions have already been dropped.
Matt Perring, BASC senior firearms officer, praised her efforts and said that there will now be very little impact on UK shooters. “Discussions with IMCO, chaired by Vicky Ford MEP, and successful lobbying of MEPs has led to the UK’s interests being protected. The UK is fortunate to be a model member state with many solutions already in place, so very little will affect us.”
Rimfire semi-automatic rifles remain permitted
Mr Perring further outlined the minor changes he expects may still occur: “The draft firearms directive (as currently written) will mean that rimfire semi-automatic rifles will remain permitted. This is hugely important for pest and predator control and food security.
“Medical and criminal checks will remain the status quo — the UK already does what the EU is seeking to introduce Europe-wide.
“Issues around imitation firearms, such as blank firing replicas commonly used for dog training in the UK, may see some technical changes for new product manufacture but none that will prevent continued use,” he added.