The European Parliament has approved new rules to control the cross-border movement of civilian firearms such as sports and hunting weapons.
The thinking behind the new export procedure is to keep track of weapons by introducing more transparency, and to fight illegal trafficking.
MEP Salvatore Iacolina from the European People’s Party said: “What happened in Norway should not happen again. With these new rules we guarantee the simplification of the procedures, respecting the security standards not just for individuals but for the commercial volume of the companies operating in this sector.”
But while the new rules may make it easier to keep track of who has guns and the movement of those firearms, there are doubts about how much affect it would have had on the actions of someone like Anders Breivik, who obtained handguns legally in Norway and made a bomb using readily available materials.
Johan Svalby from the European Federation of Hunting Associations said: “You can never have guarantees that a person like Anders Breivik wouldn’t use agricultural fertiliser or that you would have a person using a kitchen knife to commit crimes. That would be very difficult. But I think the regulatory framework in place, if enforced properly, is the best protection we have.”
The new proposals were overwhelmingly passed by the European Parliament. There is a will for transparency of gun ownership and movement, both within and outside of the EU. Predicting the behaviour of individuals with weapons is clearly more problematic.