When we had been asked to „buy” a printed opinion by the Parliament Magazine we first thought this could be wasted money. But when we heard that Vicky Ford will write an article, too – we agreed to spend money from our Fighting Fund for this advertising. And we choose Stephen to speak for us. Stephen is chairman of FESAC, the European umbrella of 300.000 authorised collectors. We are very pleased that PM placed us directly to Vicky’s article.
Here Stephen’s text (page 11):
This Thought Leader is sponsored through donations by legal firearm owners across the EU, courtesy of Firearms United
THE ILL-CONCEIVED FIREARMS DIRECTIVE PROPOSALS DESERVE PARLIAMENT’S OUTRIGHT REJECTION, ARGUES STEPHEN A. PETRONI
Over the last seven months MEPs have been attempting to re-write what is arguably one of the most misguided legislative proposals ever presented to the EP.
Barely one week after the Paris terrorist attacks that shook Europe, the European Commission published its proposal to amend the Firearms Directive, presenting it as an urgent response to terrorism. In reality, it was a rushed conclusion to a process that was initiated three years earlier.
A 2013 public consultation identified the need for proper enforcement in member states as opposed to further changes to the Directive. Two further impact assessment studies covered the possible introduction of rules on deactivation, marking procedures, regulation on alarm devices and options for combatting illicit trafficking.
Another study found that the Directive, last revised in 2008, was generally adequate und required minor improvement in areas already identified in the impact assessments.
Yet the Commission was also considering additional measures aimed at legal firearm ownership. These were contentious enough to be kept under wraps – until the tragic events on 13 November 2015.
Seizing the moment, the Commission unleashed anunprecedented attack on millions of legal firearms owners as well as on the legitimate firearms industry that contributes over €20bn and almost 700,000 jobs to the economy. If that were not enough, it went as far as to propose destroying a wealth of irreplaceable historical heritage in museums and in private collections.
These disproportionate measures were presented without a corresponding impact assessment, depriving MEPs of fair judgement on whether the marginal gain in the fight against terrorism justifies the considerable collateral damage to citizens, heritage and economy.
Our case as recognised collectors merits particular attention: in the absence of supporting evidence, the Commission stated that we may be a “possible source of trafficking of firearms” in order to justify proposing the confiscation and destruction of important firearms that we acquire legally and conserve and research at great personal sacrifice.
The increase in European citizen’s scepticism and mistrust of the EU project is symptomatic of such a misguided approach by the Commission.
We are urging MEPs to heed the rapporteur’s recommendation of „maintaining the status quo wherever there is insufficient evidence to justify changing it.”
Firearm collectors have found themselves at the forefront of the defence of legitimate firearm owners and users, joining organisations representing European sport shooters, hunters, traders, manufacturers and as well as a new grassroots movement of individual firearm owners – Firearms United – to form a grand alliance of stake holders.
Thankfully many MEPs have taken a sensible approach. On 9th May the Civil Liberties committee voted to reject most of the Commission measures. With two days to go before a vote in the the Internal Market committee, we appeal to MEPs to reject disproportionate measures that were proposed without an impact assessment.
Stephen A. Petroni is Chair of the Foundation for European Societies of Arms Collectors
Please read also Rapporteur Vicky Ford’s text (page 10 and 11) as well as the text of EFFD shadow Robert Iswaszkiewicz (page 15 and 16) and the advertisements of our industry AFEMS and IEACS and hunters’ umbrella FACE (page 18).