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Parliamentary questions
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12 May 2016
Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-000181/2016

On 18 November 2015, the Commission adopted a report on the application of the existing Firearms Directive based on a thorough evaluation study(1).

The evaluation study pointed to the fact that in a number of Member States there was a misuse of legally held firearms. The study gives examples of relationships between crime and legally held firearms as reported by relevant authorities in the Member States. For example in Finland, on average, approximately 20-30 cases of homicides are committed through the use of firearms every year with less than 10 being with legal firearms. Another example is in the Czech Republic where in 2013, it was reported that legal firearms were four times as likely to be used compared to illegal firearms.

Apart from the conclusions from the evaluation study, a number of massacres which have taken place in Europe in the past years have been carried out with legal firearms. Examples include a shooting incident in Nanterre in France in 2002, the Jokela school shooting in Finland in 2007, the Winnenden school shooting in Germany in 2009, the Cumbria shooting in England in June 2010 and the shootings in Ridderhof mall in the Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands in 2011. In a majority of firearms massacres, semi-automatic weapons are often used, however a detailed breakdown is not known.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Study on Homicide 2013 reported that available quantitative evidence points to the prevalence of firearm ownership being positively related to the level of firearm violence.

(1) http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/8385?locale=en

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