British Prime Minister David Cameron has publicly backed a proposed Europe-wide ban on semi-automatic firearms, despite opposition from key allies and even from within his own party.
A press release on the Downing Street website says the Prime Minister will “call for an EU-wide ban on high-powered semi-automatic weapons at the European Council later this week.”
Mr Cameron is quoted as saying: “We need to ensure that terrorists do not have the weapons with which they can wreak such tragedy. So at this week’s summit, I’ll be calling for a new EU-wide ban on all high-powered semi-automatic weapons and greater co-operation to crack down on the smuggling trade and to stop guns coming in from the western Balkans.”
However, he is likely to face strong resistance. Blog site UK Shooting News says that some Conservative Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have already written to constituents saying they will oppose such a ban, while UKIP’s 24 MEPs are also set to vote against.
Britain already has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe. Semi-automatic rifles other than those chambered in .22″ have been illegal since 1988, while short firearms were banned in 1997.
However, the sport of shooting is still worth around £2bn every year to the UK economy and supports 74,000 jobs.
Katja Triebel of the Europe-wide campaign group Firearms United said: “The UK is one of the most violent countries in the EU. The UK wants its gun laws for the whole EU. None of these bans stopped crime or terrorism.”
Mr Cameron’s support comes despite the European Union admitting its proposal “will not tackle the threat” of terrorism, meaning the Paris attackers would likely have still been able to obtain their firearms even if this ban were in place.
The Paris terrorists obtained fully automatic Kalashnikov-type rifles despite these already being illegal under European Union law.
UK Shooting News writes:
“As any shooter knows, a semi-automatic firearm is no more dangerous than any other firearm. What differs is the intent of the person behind the trigger.”
Breitbart London reported in September how police in Britain want sweeping warrant-less powers to enter gun-owners’ homes. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) warned of “future gun massacres” unless police had the power to enter the homes of legal gun-owners.
The National Rifle Association (UK) called the report “alarmist”.