Owning a gun in the EU

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By Euronews
Owning a gun in the EU

This week U-talk fields a question from Thomas in Paris :

“How does the European Union currently regulate the private purchase and ownership of firearms?”

The answer comes from Jean-Charles Antoine, geopolitical analyst at the French Institute of Geopolitics, (University Paris 8), and arms trade expert:

“Within the European Union, there is a great number of different national laws, there is no one unique European law, only a European Directive (1) dating from 1991 and modified in 2008 which classifies firearms into 4 categories: A, B, C and D.

Since mid-November 2015, there is also a decision from the European Commission (2) aiming at toughening in the near future the rules to acquire and possess firearms for civilians.

Nevertheless, we can see some converging trends. Globally, national legislations within the European Union are restrictive: to acquire and possess a firearm you must be of legal age and in most cases at least 21, you must have a clean criminal record and be in full command of your mental faculties.

In all EU countries – either in Great Britain or in the Nordic member states which globally prohibit all firearms possession, or in the Southern member states which historically authorise them a little more, there are local and regional exemptions, or national licences or authorisations granted to sports shooters, hunters and collectors who have the right to own neutralised firearms.”

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(1) This 1991 directive establishes several minimum conditions for the authorisation of firearms to circulate within the EU:

It was modified in 2008 by Directive 2008/51/CE :

(2) Package of measures relating to firearms adopted on the 18/11/15 by the uropean Commission.

- EC proposal to strengthen gun control