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EU plans tougher gun rules

brussels bureau

EU plans tougher gun rules


EU officials on Wednesday unveiled plans that they say will make it more difficult to buy firearms in Europe.

It follows talks between governments on Monday after the deadly attacks in Paris.

The European Commission wants to better track legally held firearms and draft common minimum standards for deactivated guns.

It say that loopholes and different national legislation amongst EU members can be exploited allowing for decommission weapons to be re-activated.

Experts say acquiring weapons is straightforward, especially inside the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone.

“After the Yugoslav war lots of guns remained in the habds of private citizens,” said Nils Duquet, a researcher at the Flemish Peace Institute.

“The guns get smuggled in very small quantities into the Schengen zone and once it’s passed the exterior border it’s very easy for these guns to circulate from one criminal gang in one country to another in another country.”

Unsurprisingly, the European Commission says Schengen is not up for debate.

The travel area is named after the town in Luxembourg where the accord was signed in 1985.

“We don’t intend to open a discussion on Schengen’s future.
It is up to France to decide whether under the current situation the external borders are in need of more protection,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration and home affairs, referring to the French government’s decision to introduce temporary checks.

Some member states have put up fences to stem the flow of migrants travelling to northern Europe from the Balkans.

The idea of an open Europe seems to be very much at risk.

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brussels bureau