EU public consultation on firearms: hunters’ contribution is needed
Deadline: 17th June
There are a number of recent international and EU initiatives in relation to firearms that are likely to have a direct impact on hunters and other shooters. Those initiatives include:
public allegations made by EU Home Affairs Commissioner Malmström and officials under her authority about the link between legal ownership of firearms and illicit trafficking in firearms;
the adoption of an Arms Trade Treaty by the United Nations; the recent tabling of a proposal by the European Commission to ratify the United Nations Firearms Protocol;
the setting up of a EU firearms experts group; and the launch by the Commission of a public consultation on firearms, which is the subject of this Notification.
It seems that the Commission’s main objective with this public consultation “on a common approach to reducing the harm caused by criminal use of firearms in the EU” is to obtain some legitimacy from public opinion in order to make the existing EU rules on legal acquisition and possession of civilian firearms more restrictive.
Organisations and individuals ideologically opposed to firearms and/or hunting are expected to reply to the consultation. Therefore, it is essential that all firearms owners reply to the consultation and encourage hunters (and, if possible, other stakeholders that share similar views) to do likewise. If the majority of responses to the consultation show no support for further restrictions or EU action on firearms rules, it will be difficult for the Commission to use public opinion as an excuse for re-opening the Firearms Directive.
Most of the 25 questions in the consultation are biased and have a formulation that seeks to predetermine the answer. All the questions have at least some relevance for the legal ownership of firearms and some of them could directly affect hunters and other sports shooters. Question C.2 insinuates that the list of prohibited firearms should be extended (it is believed that the Commission is referring to semiautomatic rifles and maybe also to semiautomatic shotguns and handguns). Question C.4 pursues the mandatory use of locking devices in firearms. Question C.7 would provide a justification to introduce compulsory mental health tests and supress the current derogation that allows people under the age of 18 to hunt and sport-shoot if they have parental permission or guidance. Question C.8 aims at requiring that all firearms (and ammunition) be subject to authorisation, which would have negative implications not only in countries where there is a formal distinction between authorisation and declaration of firearms but also in countries where there are flexible arrangements for certain hunting firearms. Question D.2 could result in a general requirement to store firearms in an approved safe (this is already the case in Ireland).
2. Choose your language in the icon that is in the upper right part of the screen.
3. Indicate your country, whether you are an individual or an organisation and your name or the name of your organisation.
4. Answer the questions by clicking on option “1” for each one of them. For some questions, it may seem that answering option 1 is a bit extreme but it should be borne in mind that virtually all questions are biased and have been formulated precisely to compel the reader to agree that some EU action is needed. Furthermore, national legislation on all issues addressed in the questions already exists. You do not need to answer the optional questions that request additional comments (questions B.4, C.11, D.5 and E.6).
5. After having answered the questions, as a security measure to avoid computer-generated replies, you will have to type in the numbers and/or letters that will be displayed in your screen and validate them.
6. Your answers will have been submitted by then. You can view them and/or save them as a PDF.
The deadline to reply to the consultation is 17th June 2013.