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Parliamentary questions
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20 April 2016
Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-016055/2015

1. Automatic firearms converted into semi-automatic firearms are typically ex-military arms transformed into semi-automatic and sold to private persons.

Semi-automatic firearms that resemble fully automatic firearms are firearms classified under category B7 of the existing Council directive. The Commission is aware that a more precise definition is necessary and is working to identify technical criteria.

2. The question of security linked to firearms is not limited to terrorism, even if this aspect is of paramount importance. Over the last decade, 10 000 homicides have been committed in Europe with firearms. In certain Member States, a majority of homicides have been committed with legal firearms. Massacres have been committed in schools, holiday camps or factories with semi-automatic firearms where at least some of them were legal firearms.

Moreover, the recent terrorist attacks have shown that terrorists use weaknesses of the existing rules to obtain certain firearms.

The Commission believes that the proposal represents a good balance between on the one hand, the legitimate interest of hunters and sport shooters, and on the other hand the security of EU citizens.

The Commission will of course analyse carefully any amendment in the context of the discussions with the European Parliament and the Council which might improve the directive.

Legal notice