Members will be interested to see two documents:-
- The WSFA note to members
- Vicky Ford’s press release published after the vote.
These cover the situation succinctly. The additional proposed amendments did not go through but those so far agreed were retained.
Next steps are explained below.
TO WFSA MEMBERS
We would like to inform you that a Plenary Session of the European Parliament was held today in Strasbourg (France).
The Firearms Directive was among the issues on the agenda, and MEPs were called to vote on the compromise text previously agreed by the EP and Council last December, and subsequently approved by the IMCO Committee last January.
As a result of the voting, the compromise text was endorsed by 491 votes in favour, 178 against and 28 abstentions.
The draft law still needs to be formally approved by the other co-legislator, the EU Council of Ministers.
Member states will have 15 months from the date of entry into force of the directive to transpose the new rules into national law and 30 months to put in place data-filling systems for registering all information needed in order to trace and identify firearms.
National associations will now play a vital role in order to carefully follow the transposition of the text at national level and avoid further restrictions.
Conservative MEP’s report closes firearms loophole exposed by Paris terror attacks
New firearms legislation which imposes restrictions on the type of guns used in the Paris terrorist attacks has today been steered through the European Parliament by Conservative MEP Vicky Ford.
Revisions to the EU’s Firearms Directive mean that guns converted to fire blanks will in future be licensed under the same rules as the original live firing version. Currently these are able to be sold freely in certain European countries despite the fact that some versions are easily converted to use with live ammunition.
Other measures tighten the rules on the ownership of semi-automatic weapons fitted with high capacity magazines, require national authorities to keep details needed to trace firearms and improve information sharing between Member States.
Speaking after her report was approved by MEPs by 491 votes to 178, Mrs Ford said: “The attacks on the Charlie Hebdo headquarters and at the Bataclan theatre in Paris exposed a dangerous loophole which allowed poorly deactivated firearms, known as salute and acoustic weapons, to be freely available. A number of similar items were amongst a cache of over 30 illegal firearms found by British police on a boat in a Kent marina in August 2015. Following today’s vote, this loophole will be closed.
The European Parliament has spent 18 months scrutinising the issue and Mrs Ford met organisations from the UK and across the EU, including the Countryside Alliance, British Shooting Sports Council, British Association for Shooting and Conservation, the Royal Armouries, the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation and the Nordic Hunters’ Alliance.
She said: “It has been a long and difficult process to reach a compromise which protects the public by making it more difficult for terrorists and criminals to get hold of higher capacity firearms while also safeguarding the interests of lawful sports shooters, collectors, re-enactors and other groups.
“It was not helped by the European Commission’s original proposals which were very poorly drafted, contained many technical errors and would have had many disproportionate restrictions on legal owners. However, I believe we have now achieved a sensible balance.”
Under the new rules, Member States will be able to authorise target shooters to possess and use higher capacity semi-automatic firearms which are otherwise restricted provided they are training for, or taking part in, competitions. The changes have been drawn up in collaboration with sport shooting organisations, including the International Practical Shooting Confederation.
Exemptions are also made for military and civil defence personnel, especially in countries such as Finland, where reservists traditionally own their firearms and keep them at home.
Museums, military re-enactors and even film companies, whose ability to possess firearms would have been compromised by the Commission’s proposals, are now catered for, subject to safeguards. Historically important firearms will not be covered by new marking requirements, nor will the rules apply to antiques.
The legislation now goes to the Council for formal approval, after which Member States will have 15 months to incorporate the new rules into national law.
Mrs Ford is MEP for the East of England and Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.
Note for Editors
Background on the revised Firearms Directive can be found here:
As many of you will know, Paul Smith, who normally organises and RCOs the McQueen, Long Range Championships and the Mid Range Championships is unable to carry out these tasks this year.
We urgently need Volunteers to RCO the following competitions:
- The McQueen – 200 yards on Short Siberia – Sunday 30 April (am only)
- The ‘4 Types’ Snaps and Rapids Comp – Short Siberia – Sunday 30 July all day.
Neil MacFarlane is the RCO but he will need some helpers.
- Long Range Championships – Sunday 20 August on Stickledown all day.
- Mid Range Championships – Saturday 16 September on Century all day.
Without any RCOs, these competitions will be cancelled.
Names please asap to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further improvement sought to amendments in EU Firearms Directive
The annotated list attached, which we received only a little earlier today, shows the amendments to be voted upon by MEPs tomorrow at the Plenary session starting at 9.00am, with a debate of about 30 minutes. The vote may be later between 12.00 and 14.00.
The indicative voting shown in the list is the best ‘steer’ on how to vote available at this point, so please send this list to your MEP contacts as quickly as possible, with a note saying that these represent the best available options for the shooting and collecting community. They are the FESAC preferred options which we support.
If you wish to contact your MEP, you should send this tonight, not tomorrow, since if it arrives tomorrow it may only create confusion or alienation. Do not include Vicky Ford in your list.
If you are unable to do so don’t worry. FESAC and Firearms United lobbying has been very strong. Please be aware that, as reported previously, we had achieved approximately 80% of what we sought in the amendments reported then. These further amendments seek to improve upon the 80%.
We will report further when we have more news.
The annual British Sporting Rifle Club Open Historics Match will be held on Sunday 19th March and will follow the same format as previous years. It is open to non BSRC members who do not need to be specifically invited on this occasion. Any non-member wishing to participate in the Match will have to confirm that he/she holds a Firearms Certificate permitting them to use the firearms & ammunition concerned on approved ranges & MUST fill in their FAC & address details on the the attendance register as well as produce their SCC.
Non-members will NOT be able to borrow others firearms, but BSRC members may.
Full match details are attached below.
HBSA member Geoffrey Organ passed away peacefully at home on the 18th January 2017 following a battle with cancer.
His son David has sent a message that there will be a Memorial service at the Oriental Club, London, on the 18th March, details attached below for any member who know him and wishing to attend.
A further short commentary as promised following the last update.
Having discussed this with Stephen Petroni, FESAC Chairman, we feel that it is preferable not to write widely to MEPs regarding the outstanding issues. Doing so may be too much for some of them and whatever happens we do not wish to alienate any of them or risk losing the ” 80% success “ achieved so far, by inundating them with letters.
FESAC, in conjunction with Firearms United are currently working strongly with lobbyists which we feel will be the best route, if possible delaying the March vote to give the lobbyists more time and to formulate strategy.
No doubt we will have further news in due course.
David Penn’s Legislative Update is attached.
Entries for this 200 and 300 yard competition close on Friday 3 March.
This event is for .22 Rimfire rifles, with classes for older and modern rifles, using either iron or telescopic sights and with a choice of NRA Historic Round Bull or Tin Hat targets.
The 200 yard shoot will be on Short Siberia range at 0845 hrs with 300 on Century in the afternoon.
Entries are strictly ‘Online’ – see HBSA Competitions- Long Range Rimfire Competition >>>>
See you there !
This is an excellent summary of where we are by Stephen Petroni, FESAC Chairman, with input from others mentioned in the acknowledgements.
As he says, we might be said to have reached 80% of our objectives. This could be considered good in a compromise agreement, however there are still some points that need pursuing, not the least of which are issues around large capacity magazines and potential change of a firearm’s Category according to their use, and deactivation standards which are still under discussion.
I have asked Stephen Petroni for a list of points which may be included in letters to be written to MEPs in order to be co-ordinated, and will report any further news and action requests.
I just wanted to remind you that the annual Fixed Bayonet & No Bayonet Competitions are being held on Saturday 25th February.
If you want to take part, enter online from the HBSA website >>>>
Depending upon the number of entries received by close of play this Thursday, I may cancel some of the targets and markers booked. Entries received after that deadline may be refused: indeed entries received before then may be refused if we have reached capacity for the four targets currently booked.
So, don’t hang about!
Hope you can take part,