The European Commission is set to rewrite its Firearms Directive, opening the door to tighter restrictions on shooters in the UK. The move comes on top of the Law Commission’s review of the UK’s firearms laws, already some of the most restrictive in the world, with the police lobbying hard for sweeping new powers including access to shooters’ medical records.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation warns that a new directive could damage legitimate shooting sports.
BASC Council member Peter Glenser, a barrister practising in firearms law, said: “BASC supports efforts to combat illegal trafficking of firearms, but this is a complex area of the law. The danger of reopening the directive is that amendments could be moved that would be damaging to legitimate shooting sports.”
He added: “These can be malicious and sponsored by those who wish to damage shooting. There can also be proposals which, through ignorance, damage legitimate shooting while trying to improve the law.” He vowed that BASC will be vigilant and ensure that legitimate shooting in the UK is not damaged by this move.
The move to rewrite European firearms law was announced by the EU Council in a press release citing terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen. It calls for the EU Commission to strengthen firearms legislation, particularly in the area of Europewide cooperation and information sharing in the fight against illegal trafficking of firearms.
It also demands tougher standards for deactivation of firearms. The EU Firearms Directive was last revised in 2008, and is now likely to be rewritten by the beginning of 2016 at the latest. It will require EU member states, including the UK, to incorporate its demands into domestic law.