Following some recent and disturbing developments in the trialogue concerning the modification of the European firearms directive, the Firearms United network is once again calling all European gun owners to action in what could be the most important fight ever since the Commission proposed the EU gun ban
A new storm is coming!
From an institution like the European Commission – which is well known for being relentless in pursuing its political agenda regardless of how things really go out of its ivory tower – one could not expect another reaction to the conference held on November 16 at the European Parliament in Brussels by the Firearms United network.
In the past days, the European Commission had indeed given out signs that they would react. On the same day of the conference, the Commission had released an official statement regarding its position concerning certain types of firearms; and on November 23, while speaking at the French Assemblée Nationale, the new European Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said:
We are stuck on this text at the European Parliament, which position comes to keep in the hands of civilians dangerous automatic and semi-automatic firearms.
We need your help in order to convince your colleagues at the EP [to get them banned].
And as it goes, on November 24th, the Firearms United network received classified and very reliable intelligence according to which the European Commission would be exerting an unprecedented amount of pressure on the European Parliament to reach an end to the trilogue before the end of the year; and such an agreement would be on the Council's position.
Given how many of the biggest member States agree on many points – with the governments of Germany, France and Italy being among the main sponsors of what is now in-famously known as the "EU gun ban" – the European Parliament may indeed be forced to capitulate. The proposal could be submitted to the IMCO committee as early as next Tuesday, November 29, 2016.
What's a stake?
The Council position excludes a total ban on Category B7 firearms – those modern hunting, sporting and defensive firearms patterned after military rifles and carbines – but still threatens us in several critical points:
- A total ban on demilitarized firearms, those meaning full-automatic firearms that were permanently and irreversibly modified to semi-automatic operation for the civilian market
- A ban on magazines for handguns and long guns holding more than 20 rounds of ammunition, and a prohibition to their use, with a generic "exception for sport shooters"
- A mandatory five-years expiry date for all gun licenses and mandatory medical and psychological test for all gun owners
Plus, should the European Parliament be forced to capitulate, the Commission could have its way through the Council to impose even stricter conditions:
- A total ban on all Category B7 firearms or, to say the least, to all AR-15 and AK-47 derivatives
- A total ban on magazines for handguns and long guns holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, with mandatory licensing for purchase and ownership
- Little or no exceptions, even for collectors or sport shooters
Why this reaction, and why now?
According to Firearms United's intelligence, a combination of factors triggered the hysterical reaction of the European Commission.
Definitely, the outcome of the November 16 conference at the European Parliament in Brussels terrified the Commission. It is now clear that the gun owners and gun enthusiasts' community Europe-wide could all come together, and that the Firearms United network could turn into a real European NRA.
Needless to say, the European Commission and the Member States can not let that happen; they don't want the European gun owners to be able to stop arbitrary restrictions like in the USA.
Plus, the European Commission realized that the Firearms United network could be able to show their lack of arguments and dismantle the EU gun ban plans piece by piece.
A defeat against the "gun lobby" would undermine the power and the credibility of the European Commission – or whatever's left of it.
Last, but not least, the external players who influence or guide the European Commission's gun ban attempts are also restless.
Those include the governments of at least three founding EU Countries (France, Germany, Italy), plus many others – the United Kingdom probably being among them despite Brexit.
Among those players also are several prominent anti-gun NGOs that have so far been very supportive of the EU gun ban, from the Flemish Peace Institute to the Small Arms Survey. Those NGOs are far from being grassroot organizations, and are often funded by millions of Euros (or dollars) from other non-governmental lobbyists and anti-gun millionaires.
Either way you look at it, what is happening as you read this article looks and feels like a desperate last-ditch attempt from the cornered anti-gun crowd; but this is what actually makes it one of their most dangerous moves ever since the European Commission proposed its amendment draft in November 2015 following the Bataclan terror attack.
Needless to say, this has to be stopped at all costs.
What can we do?
The Firearms United network is thus urging all gun owners, gun enthusiasts, and freedom lovers in Europe – as well as industry and business stakeholders in the field, from manufacturers to distributors and retailers – to support the MEPs who oppose the EU gun ban with a new massive E-Mailing campaign.
Although most Members of the European Parliament have all issues perfectly clear in their minds after the November 16 conference, those E-Mails will provide them with some solid support from the European people to base their resilient opposition. That's why all E-Mails must be measured and accommodating in their tones, but nonetheless as clear as it gets in explaining what we want.
And they must be written with a personal touch: no massive cut-and paste and no massive sending of thousands of carbon-copy E-Mails, since they would be blocked by Spam filters or, worse, would make the European gun owners community like a mass of brainless individuals who can't write a letter on their own to explain their reasons with their own words.
Firearms United is providing some suggestions for the points to make in your E-Mails – which should be written and sent to the Members of the European Parliament no later than next Monday, or Tuesday morning at the most.
Firearms United urges its followers to remind MEPs of the November 16 conference, and to make it extremely clear that our community wants:
- No restriction on any kind of firearm that is legal today; no ban on Category B7 firearms, no ban on "demilitarized" firearms, no ban on firearms that can be shortened under 60cm. when folding a stock, no ban on AR-15 or AK-47 variants, no restriction at all
- No restriction on magazine capacity, doesn't matter how many "exceptions" they could come out with to "neuter" those restrictions
- No mandatory expiry date for gun licenses and no mandatory medical or psych exam for gun owners – at least not imposed from the EU: let Member States legislate on those matters
As politicians are used to think in the key of compromises, ad this is especially true in Europe, you can ask this to MEPs:
If your son or daughter was bulled at school, what would be the "acceptable level" of abuse that he or she should be forced to tolerate as a "compromise" with his or her bully?
It has to be very clear to them that since firearms of civilian provenance are not used in crime or terrorism – as shown by Erik Lakomaa's research presented at the November 16 conference – any restriction on firearms and accessories sold on the civilian market and used by licensed gun owners would be nothing short of an abuse.
The European gun owners community is not willing to compromise or discuss about those points, not at EU level, nor with their national governments; and no national or European politician should be entitled to speak on their behalf, nor recognized as such. Nothing else but a full rejection of any restrictive proposal will be acceptable.
If those points will be rejected, the European gun owners community will not object to an immediate closure of the trilogue.
- Demilitarized firearms
Regardless of Alain Alexis' ridiculous rants at the November 16th conference about the "Russian and Israeli surplus", truth is that current conversion standards already make sure that full-automatic firearms converted to semi-automatic for civilian sales can not be reverted to full-automatic or select fire operation without extensive modification that would require industrial machinery and the remanufacture of certain components.
Plus, demilitarized firearms are the only ones that the vast majority of shooters can afford in many Member States, and their legal trade is the core business of hundreds of small-to-medium enterprises in the entire EU; should those restrictions pass, those enterprises would close down and jobs would be lost.
The impact of the restrictions on the European economy is well detailed on the thirty-pages Impact Assessment compiled by Katja Triebel for the Firearms United network; a short recap of the document is available to be sent to MEPs if you wish to.
- Prohibition of the use of firearms when fitted with magazines exceeding 20 rounds in capacity
That's literally ridiculous – basically akin to a mandatory re-registration of vehicles every time that winter tires are installed.
The proposed "exemptions for sport shooters and collectors" are even more ridiculous: why impose those restrictions if 95% of users would be exempt? Well, of course: because the Member States would be free to adopt more restrictive rules, and they would enact a total ban if given the slightest chance. And this is outright unacceptable.
Last, but not least, most owners of the types of firearms and magazines that would be hit by the restrictions can not afford the time and money to take part to official competitions, but this doesn't mean that they should not be allowed to practice training, leisure and recreational shooting with any kind of firearm and any type of magazine that they want. Any similar restriction would be no less unacceptable.
- Ban on magazines holding over 20 rounds of ammunition
The overall number of magazines holding over 20 rounds of ammunition currently circulating in Europe is unknown: those items have no serial numbers, they feature an enormous number of interchangeable parts, and they've been available without restrictions and controls for many years now. This means that it will be impossible to track them all down and that it is impossible to effectively limite them all to 20 rounds in capacity.
The European Commission would want to impose a mandatory revocation of gun licenses against whoever is found in possession of banned magazines; and that is absurd – even more so since magazine components are freely available worldwide and that detachable magazines can be manufactured with a household 3D printer.
- Mandatory medical and psychologic evaluation for gun owners
There is no reason to let the European Union impose those canons: the Member States should be free to legislate about this matter by themselves.
In many member States, there is no provision for such medical checks, as they would configure as a State-sanctioned discrimination (why gun owners should be psychologically evaluated but driving license holders should not?); and let's not forget, nobody ever dared to ask mandatory medical and psychiatric checks for blade or vehicle owners following the Munich and Nice attacks.
On the other hand, other Member States have those medical checks already in place – with rules decided independently by the local governments – and they work just fine. There is thus no need for the European Union to intervene and no excuse should be given to those Member States to impose other limitations.
- Possible exit of Switzerland from the Schengen Area
Switzerland is the Country with the highest gun ownership rate per capita in Europe, and all families with a male member between 18 and 30 years of age have a State-issued full-automatic assault rifle at home; at the end of the mandatory militia service, Swiss citizens can retain that rifle after having it converted to semi-automatic operation.
Switzerland is also the Country with the lowest murder rate in Europe, and Swiss citizens already made clear that no EU-mandated restriction on firearms will be accepted, no matter how small or watered down; and should any restriction be passed, Switzerland is willing to hold a referendum to leave the Schengen Area if that's what it takes to remain unaffected.
- The European Commissions' distorted view of the world, and the gun owners' vote
Not once has the European Commission managed to show a connection between legally-held firearms and crime or terrorism... because there's none.
As proved by many press sources and as pointed out by the Firearms United network immediately after the Paris terror attacks of January and November 2015, all firearms used by terrorists are full-automatic military weapons illegally smuggled from the Balkans. And this is true for all terrorist shootings in Europe: from Charlie Hebdo to the Bataclan, from the Copenhagen station and Thalys train attacks, from the Munich shooting to the recent knife-and-gun assault to a monk retirement home in Montpellier, all those tragedies saw the use of illegal firearms.
It must be clear to the MEPs that the European gun owners will remember who protected and who betrayed them, and that the result of the passage of any restriction – no matter how small or watered down – will be a massive influx of votes towards political movements and parties that seek the destruction of the European Union as we know it.
Any restriction is bound to cause a Trump effect in Europe.
The Firearms United networks asks all European gun owners to E-mail as many Members of the European Parliament as possible, by Monday, November 28, or Tuesday, November 29, in the morning, at the latest.
Priority should be given to members of the IMCO committee, following by all MEPs elected in your Country and, if possible, by all MEPs at large, regardless of their party or Country, because no matter what comes out of the trilogue, the dossier will have to be voted by the plenary of the European Parliament sooner or later.
Even those MEPs who maniacally seek restrictions of all kinds on legally-owned, civilian grade firearms will have to receive a harsh wake-up call about what's going on outside of their ivory tower.
Firearms United is also asking whoever is willing and capable to do so to call their MEPs on the telephone as well, in order to establish a more direct and straightforward contact. The office telephone number for each Member of the European Parliament are available on the European Parliament website.
...and where's the industry?
Once again – and just like they did for the November 16th conference – industry and economic stakeholders are keeping dead silent in the hour of need.
As used as we may be to see them play deaf (and blind), it has to be said that the feedback gathered by the Firearms United network among its followers towards this behaviour is not good at all: a vast majority of European gun owners seems to be inclined to consider the European gun industry a covert supporter of the EU gun ban plans. And this can't be good for business.
Manufacturers, importers and exporters, distributors and retailers would be better off holding their national governments accountable for their position at the Council. They would have full reason to, given how reportedly, among the typical confusion of the European institutions, some of the representatives of the Member States who are lobbying for further restrictions on legally-owned firearms seem to be vastly exceeding the mandate they received from their governments and Parliaments.
Counting on the fact that nobody will ever hold them accountable, some anti-gun government bureaucrats are supporting the Commission's EU gun ban plans regardless of what they have been told to do by the governments they're supposed to represent.
In other cases, they are indeed following closely a secret mandate from their governments.
The Firearms United network has solid intel to accuse some governments of double-crossing the stakeholders: while they officially do not support the restrictions as they would harm the national industry or defense, in Brussels they secretly support the EU Gun Ban plans hoping that they'll be allowed to impose more restrictions to law-abiding gun owners with the old "It's the EU, not us" excuse, because they could not otherwise take direct political responsibility for impopular and counterproductive bans that the national democracy would certainly stop.
How can the European gun industry just keep silent in front of all this?
How will it end?
Given the number of variables, it's very hard to say now. What's for sure is that the European Commission and all European gun ban supporters are desperate: they are afraid that they would loose the battle and that they would not have a chance to try again in the future due to the birth of a powerful "gun lobby" in Europe.
And indeed, the defeat of the anti-gunners and the birth of a powerful gun rights advocacy group in Europe is what we all should aim for; but this takes effort, an effort to which we all are now called to contribute by wasting some hours of our weekend to write and send E-Mails to the Members of the European Parliament.
What the anti-gun front has so far failed to realize, however, is that the Firearms United network would have never arrived to the current levels of influence if the European Commission hadn't decided to attack law-abiding gun owners back in November 2015.
With the possibility of a defeat at the hands of the "gun lobby" looming closer and closer, those "enlightened" politicians who claim upon themselves a God-given right and duty to rule upon us all from an ivory tower and see whoever disagrees with them as treacherous heretics to be sent to the stake can't blame anybody but themselves for what they call the "dangerous surge of a gun lobby in Europe"