Tuesday

6th Dec 2022

EU to restrict buying of semi-automatic guns

  • EU plans to introduce tougher gun control laws to foil terrorist attacks (Photo: Reuters)

EU interior ministers agreed on Friday (10 June) to tighten gun control rules in the aftermath of the Paris and Brussels terror attacks.

The proposal, which still needs to be ratified by the European Parliament, includes an EU-wide regime on deactivated firearms.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Gunshop in Prague. the Czech Republic has more liberal gun control laws than the average EU country (Photo: Peter Teffer)

Deactivated arms can be restored for use by criminals, but some member states had said the new requirements would harm collectors and hunters.

The new rules aim to make it easier to track down illegal guns and make it harder to buy semi-automatic rifles.

Some states wanted to ban civilians from owning the most lethal models of semi-automatic rifles, but the bill includes multiple exceptions for museums and target shooters.

The Paris attackers killed dozens of people using these types of guns.

But the European Commission’s original text was watered down by countries including the Czech Republic, which favoured liberal gun laws, and Finland, which has civilian militias.

Switzerland, which is not an EU member but which cooperates with the EU on security issues, also favoured liberal laws.

The minister from Luxembourg, where the EU meeting was held on Friday, said the bill is full of loopholes.

The Dutch security and justice minister Ard van der Steur, speaking for the Dutch EU presidency, said: "We struck the right balance between improving security for EU citizens and [protecting] the internal market for firearms”.

EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "Some member states are not very happy with this directive, but the majority [of member states] agreed”.

EU reconsiders anti-terrorism response

An emergency meeting of interior ministers could take place Thursday. But border security, use of databases and EU cooperation were already on the table last autumn.

Exclusive

Ukraine arms-trafficking into Poland on rise

Efforts to smuggle firearms into Poland from the Ukraine are on the rise, says an internal EU document. Dated 30 November, the document notes firearms are also being trafficked from the EU towards Ukraine and Libya.

Feature

'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Project Safte, an international research project funded by the European Commission, has revealed a loophole in the EU firearms directive that is being exploited by criminals and possibly terrorists.

Column

Autocrats make us all less secure

How should democratic states co-operate with authoritarian governments in the future? My organisation, Democracy Reporting International, has studied the security strategies of 13 democratic governments to understand how they see this relationship.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  5. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  6. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe

Latest News

  1. EU delays Hungary funds decision, as Budapest vetoes Ukraine aid
  2. Borrell gets pension from MEP fund set for taxpayer bailout
  3. Autocrats make us all less secure
  4. Big Agri's lies: green EU farming not to blame for food insecurity
  5. German top court declares €800bn EU recovery fund 'legal'
  6. EU countries struggle to crack Hungary's vetos
  7. Frontex expanding migrant route-busting mission in Balkans
  8. EU ministers in fresh battle on joint debt, after Biden subsidies

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us