The BSSC and the NSRA are asking their members to write to their MEPs as a matter of urgency to make them aware of the far-reaching impact of the draft Weapons Directive currently being pushed through by the European Commission. This directive is being hurried through in the aftermath of the Brussels bombings, but seeks sweeping restrictions on the legal ownership and use of firearms throughout Europe that will not affect the illegal use of firearms in crime or terrorism. 

Dear NSRA Member,

We understand that following the appalling bombings in Brussels (which however did not involve firearms) and at the request of Belgium, the EU Commission Presidency called an urgent meeting on the 24th of March. The meeting was intended to show solidarity with Belgium, discuss the actual state of play in the fight against terrorism and, critically, to pursue swift completion and implementation of the Commission’s draft Weapons Directive. The strongest pressure is expected to be put on other EU Council members to vote in favour of calling upon Parliament to adopt the Commission’s proposal with urgency.

Moreover, the same forces are exerting great pressure upon MEPs to support the Commission proposal. There is a clear need to bolster the resolve of those MEPs who support us. At this point the most useful action we can take is to email these MEPs and express both our sympathies for the victims of the terrorist bombings and our organisation’s considerable thanks and full support for the MEP in continuing to hold his or her ground against undemocratic pressure from the Commission. What is being sought is the implementation of a draft Directive which it is now widely understood would have no effect on terrorism but would adversely affect hunters, target shooters, museums, collectors and Europe’s heritage of arms. We should also emphasise that the Commission should be focused on the real problems: border controls, inter-Member State co-operation and appropriate policing.

The BSSC will be writing in these terms to Vicky Ford and Geoffrey van Orden. Will you please as a matter of urgency encourage your members to contact their MEPs likewise. They should not however write to Vicky Ford — she is receiving considerable quantities of mail already.

Members are asked to:

  1. Express sympathy for the victims of recent terrorist acts, but point out that bombings should not be used as a reason for unwarranted additional controls on civilian firearms.
  2. Point out that the proposals in the Weapons Directive as presented by the Commission would have no impact on terrorists who prefer military weapons trafficked illegally. The Directive would however adversely affect law abiding hunters, target shooters, museums, collectors and Europe’s important heritage of arms.
  3. Make clear that the one significant legal ‘loophole’ in the legal market, the need to introduce appropriate controls on the sale of  acoustic/alarm firearms, is already in hand.
  4. The focus should be on measures directly aimed at terrorism, such as border controls, inter-Member State co-operation and appropriate policing.
  5. Thank the MEP for his/her support and urge the MEP to continuing to hold his or her ground against ill-founded pressure from the Commission to support its unacceptable proposals. 

With many thanks.

David J Penn
British Shooting Sports Council


The Council is a founding member of the World Forum on Shooting Activities (WFSA), a NGO in Roster Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.


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