The 28 member states of the European Union have reached a preliminary agreement to implement a near-total ban on semi-automatic firearms, claiming it is a necessary step to reduce the likelihood of terror attacks.
The European Commission announced a political agreement between the European Parliament and the 28 member states of the European Union to tighten already stringent gun control laws by banning “high-capacity firearms.”
The debate on additional gun control measures began in 2015 following the terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead.
“After a year of discussions, the European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional political agreement on the Firearms Directive,” the EU Commission said in a statement.
The agreement includes “a ban on automatic firearms transformed into semi-automatic firearms, the inclusion of collectors and museums in the scope of the directive, the regulation of alarm and acoustic weapons, the regulation of Internet sales, the regulation of deactivated weapons and more exchange of information between Member States.”
Bowing to pressure from European firearms manufacturers and several EU member states with less restrictive gun control policies, the proposal does not ban private ownership of AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles.
“The Commission had proposed a greater level of ambition with a complete ban of the most dangerous semi-automatic firearms, including all semi-automatic firearms of the AK47 or AR15 families and a ban of assault weapons for private collectors,” the statement continued. “The Commission also regrets that the magazine size was not limited to 10 rounds for all semi-automatic firearms.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said they “fought hard for an ambitious deal that reduces the risk of shootings in schools, summer camps or terrorist attacks with legally held firearms,” but expressed regret that the proposal did not go far enough.
“Of course we would have liked to go further, but I am confident that the current agreement represents a milestone in gun control in the EU.”
“This agreement provides for tighter controls which will help prevent the acquisition of firearms by terrorist and criminal organizations,” said Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.
Finland, which has a policy of universal male conscription, strongly opposed the initial gun control proposal, arguing it would have harmed the readiness of its volunteer reserve organizations.
Despite their initial opposition, Finland has said it supports the revised proposal.
“I am very pleased with the outcome,” Finnish Interior Minister Paula Risikko said.
The bureaucrats at the European Union have not indicated if they plan to prevent terror attacks similar to those carried out in Nice, France and Berlin, Germany, by banning private ownership of trucks.
“If a radicalized fanatic decides to use a truck as a weapon, you don’t stand a chance, unless you know about him and his plans in advance and arrest him before he can act,” said expert Rolf Tophoven. “It’s impossible to check all vehicles in the EU or to seal off all Christmas markets to protect them from any danger.”