EU Expands Gun Control, Bans Many Semi-Auto Firearms

EU Expands Gun Control, Bans Many Semi-Auto Firearms
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission.web photo

Much like the typical response of anti-gunners after a horrific act of violence committed against innocent people in the United States, the European Union has reacted to recent terror attacks by making it harder for its citizens to legally own firearms.

The EU has agreed to ban the sales of many semi-automatic firearms and to make it much harder for anyone to legally buy guns, according to this story from CNNMoney. The new legal regulations are an effort to disarm illegally operating terrorists, who have proven with attacks like the recent one in Berlin that they can kill large groups of people only using vehicles.

The top three European institutions—the Commission, the Parliament, and the Council—reached a political agreement on the new rules Tuesday after more than a year of negotiations.

Now, citizens of nations belonging to the EU will have to go through medical checks before getting a license to buy firearms among other restrictions, according to the story.

“We have fought hard for an ambitious deal that reduces the risk of shootings in schools, summer camps, or terrorist attacks with legally held firearms,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, who called the agreement a “milestone in gun control in the EU.”

States across the EU will have to start sharing more information about firearm sales so that people can’t buy guns in one country when they’re prohibited from buying them in another—similar to the way states report information to the NICS system in the States.

The story says one in 10 EU citizens own or has owned a firearm, while about 41 percent of Americans have a gun in their home.

The story says the European Commissions pushed for even stricter rules and a complete ban on all semi-automatic firearms.

Finland opposed such a ban, saying it would affect its national defense, which relies on reservists being able to train with modern firearms.

The Czech Republic and Sweden also protested, saying the ban would hurt those who use firearms legally for sport or hunting. Self-defense wasn’t mentioned.

Firearms United, one of the biggest gun lobby groups in Europe (think a smaller NRA), campaigned against the new rules, having organized a petition and gathering 330,000 signatures.

The group said that "restricting legal gun ownership will not stop terrorism" and that recent terror attacks, including the mass shooting in Paris in November 2015, were committed using unregistered fully automatic firearms purchased on the black market.

Full-auto firearms had already been banned in the EU, but the new rules expand that ban to include more semi-auto firearms.

The rules still have to be formally agreed upon by the three EU institutions before becoming law next year.