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Concern over European arms manufacturers' interference in US politics

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has demanded that European arms manufacturers stop interfering in US politics and gun laws following revelations that they supply a quarter of the handguns sold in America as well as millions of dollars to campaign against gun control.  

Listen to Alyn on SOUNDCLOUD.

Speaking after the release of the latest figures from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Alyn said:

"European arms manufacturers supply around a quarter of the guns sold to American citizens every year.  In 2011, the latest year that we have figures for, half of the guns imported into the US were from Europe - one and a half million of them.  That means a quarter of the civilian gun sales in the US are European guns and more than a million
out of the 1.7 million handguns imported to the US are European.

"European guns have been used in some of the worst shooting atrocities in the US as well.  From the Glock and the Walther in the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 to SigSauer and Glock used in the 2012 Newtown shooting, European guns have been right at the centre of US killings.

"Not only do these European companies supply guns that are used, they're also supplying the money to campaign against gun control in America.

"The Blood Money report by the US Violence Policy Centre laid out the millions that European gun companies are giving to the NRA to campaign to persuade the American government to let them carry on selling whatever they want rather than controlling gun supply.

"Distasteful as I find it, the trade in guns is legal and so are the donations, but that doesn't make them right.

"I think we have a right to know what European companies are getting up to in other people's debates, there is a need for greater transparency.  I've written to the European Commission to suggest a central register of political donations by companies overseas as a first step."