In order to strengthen deactivation regimes, the European Commission introduced a new deactivation regulation which came into force in April 2016. This sets a single standard for deactivation of firearms. However, technical implementation issues have arisen and some countries were concerned that the new standard would be less secure than their previous national regimes. Following pressure from Parliament, the European Commission has now re-convened a working group of experts from the EU member states to review the regulation. The Commission has pledged that a revision will be completed by early 2017.
“The introduction of the deactivation regulation caused problems for legitimate holders of deactivated firearms such as historical re-enactors and those involved in film making etc, as it prohibits them from selling or transferring across borders any items deactivated prior to April 2016 unless the items are re-deactivated to the new standard, which is not technically possible in many cases. Following pressure from Parliament there will now be a process to assess national standards in use prior to April 2016. If the standards are accepted by the working group and Commission as equivalent, then items deactivated to that previous regime will be able to be bought, sold and transferred without requiring further modification”, explained Vicky Ford (ECR, UK).
The Commission proposed that all deactivated firearms would become subject to the same registration and authorisation procedures as firearms. This was rejected by the co-legislators. Instead the negotiators agreed that newly deactivated firearms should be categorised in Category C and need to be declared to national authorities but will not require an authorisation or licence. This will not apply to existing deactivated firearms.