Firearms control to be strengthened across the EU

The European Commission (Wednesday) adopted a package of measures to make it more difficult to acquire firearms in the European Union, to better track legally-held firearms, to strengthen cooperation between Member States, and to ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable.

The move comes only two days after the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a report which criticised France, the UK and Germany (Europe's three biggest arms exporters) for failing to meet their legal obligation to supply accurate and complete arms export data to the EU.

Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Alyn Smith MEP, said:

"Rules on firearms already exist but it is clear implementation across different Member States has been patchy. Tightening the rules and ensuring better enforcement is where the EU can bring real added value, without diminishing member state control.

“The actions of the European Commission and the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee are sending a clear signal to EU governments on the need to tighten up EU rules and practices to protect Europe's citizens and prevent criminals and terrorists from accessing weapons in the EU and abroad.

“The existing rules are binding but implementation needs to be consistent. We must act swiftly in light of recent events - Europe’s security environment is changing - and we must make it as difficult as possible to acquire firearms in the European Union.

"Also, let’s not forget that European arms are known to end up in the hands of repressive regimes, terrorists and criminals, fuelling conflicts around the globe, that’s why stricter controls on export, sale and registration of firearms, and stronger rules to irrevocably deactivate weapons, are absolutely necessary.”