Import, export and transit measures for firearms

Briefing 04-12-2023

Manufacturing and trade in firearms for civilian purposes employs around 150 000 people in the EU. In 2020, the Commission adopted a 2020-2025 action plan on firearms trafficking to help curb the illegal flows of firearms, and ammunition, while also strengthening the legal market. The adoption of Directive (EU) 2021/555 on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons in 2021was 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 to the current rules, 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. The Committee on International Trade (INTA) adopted its report on 27 October 2023. It strengthens the transparency and traceability provisions contained in the proposal, whilst ensuring alignment with the directive. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.