Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (Revision of Firearms Directive)

IMCO debate on Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons
© European Parliament (2016)

On 18.11.2015, the EC adopted a legislative proposal for amending the 91/477 Firearms Directive, together with the overdue evaluation report and Implementing Regulation on deactivation. Among others, the EC proposal contained stricter rules to ban certain semi-automatic firearms and for the online acquisition of firearms; included museums and collectors in the scope of the Directive; amended the authorisation conditions for acquiring and possessing a firearm (e.g. provision of a medical test).

It also proposed common rules on marking of firearms for traceability purposes and on deactivation standards; and it strengthened the exchange of information between MS.

The Parliament and the Council negotiated the Directive and reached an agreement on the proposal in December 2016; they formally adopted it in March and April 2017 respectively. The new rules reduce the number of weapons categories and change the classification of certain types of weapons, while strictly defining exceptions for civilian use of the most dangerous weapons. The agreed text also sets out the requirements for the Commission to adopt implementing or delegated rules on deactivation, on marking and on exchange of information. The revised Firearms Directive (EU) 2017/853 entered into force on 13 June 2017, with the deadline for transposition of most provisions set at 14 September 2018.

Outcome of the political negotiations