Import, export and transit measures for firearms

Briefing 14-03-2023

According to the European Commission, the manufacturing and trade in firearms, their essential components and ammunition employs around 150 000 people in the EU. Following the terrorist attacks in the EU of the last decade, the EU decided to update its legislation on civilian firearms. In 2020, the Commission adopted the 2020-2025 action plan on firearms trafficking to help curb illegal flows of firearms, and ammunition, while also strengthening the legal market. The publication of Directive (EU) 2021/555 on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons on 6 April 2021 was the first legislative outcome of the plan. In October 2022, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on import, export and transit measures for firearms, their essential components and ammunition, another legislative commitment in its action plan. The proposed regulation would pursue three main objectives: a) neutralising the risks of trafficking at import and export; b) ensuring traceability in the firearms trade, based on systematic written information; and c) promoting efficient implementation of controls. Compared with Regulation (EU) 258/2012, currently in force and which it supersedes, the proposal extends the material scope to exports, provides for consistent interpretation of rules across Member States, and allows for the flow of data at EU level. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.