When the first “Weapons” directive was proposed by the EEC, it was so against the possession of firearms and their use by civilians that a group, mainly from Holland, was formed to oppose this legislation. Their efforts were so successful that the group evolved into The Foundation for European Associations of Arms Collectors. FESAC keeps close contact with Brussels and has successfully helped many national organisations with Directive related problems. They provide us with warnings of any EEC legislation that will affect UK legislation.
FESAC was known from its inception to the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association, who helped with its growth. In 2008 they were joined as members by the Arms and Armour Society. They both recognised the increasing influences being felt in UK government circles from Brussels. In 2012 the MLA joined FESAC. In 2013 the HBSA representative resigned and the A&A and MLA representative was elected to the FESAC board to represent the whole of the UK
There will be continuing pressure on the collecting world, originating both from the UK and Brussels. FESAC offers us advance information on matters originating from Brussels, and a forum for discussion on how best to deal with it. We are then in a stronger position to protect our collectors.
The UK country report presented to FESAC each year summarises the extensive activities and discussions which cover many topics common to us and our European neighbours. This year’s discussions have included the involvement of Medical Practitioners in the licencing function, deactivation, licence fees and a reassessment of the existing firearms laws with a view to improvement and simplification.
The FESAC conference is an occasion for the host country to show how it deals with “Heritage” in the arms field, as was the case when UK hosted the conference in 2010. Visits to major museums and collections are thus high on their agenda. Contacts made through these events can be valuable in future to assist our members’ research projects.The U K membership of FESAC is an overall gain. In addition it shows to officialdom we are serious about collecting and heritage and adds to our standing.