Anti-gun interests in the European Union (EU) are using the Paris and Brussels attacks to introduce wide-ranging new legislation to ban firearms used by sportsmen and hunters, despite no such equipment being used by the Islamist terrorists.
Illegal, fully-automatic AK47 rifles have become a hallmark of Islamist terror in Western Europe, having been used in the Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan, Thalys, and Belgian Jewish Museum attacks. These weapons, despite having been outlawed across the continent by the European Union in 1991, remain easy to obtain as they are smuggled across Europe’s open, unchecked borders with ease.
Despite the evidence that present prohibition of ‘category A’ — fully automatic — firearms has failed to work the EU is now using the Brussels bombing as a pretext to push through a ban of ‘category B’ weapons. Encompassing a variety of equipment but clearly focussed on semi-automatic long arms popular with Europe’s significant hunting community, a grass-roots campaign movement is moving to oppose the change, reports Politico.
Pan-European shooting sport interest group Firearms United is pushing a Change.org petition — so far signed by over 316,000 people and aiming for half a million — and is stirring up trouble in Brussels.
Firearms United activist Katja Triebel spoke to Breitbart London and said that the European Commission had failed to target the true source of terrorist weapons and instead was going after sportsmen and collectors. She said: “Brussels has missed the chance to harness the expertise [of the firearms industry] and will of these sectors to tackle the root problem… large ex-military stockpiles in the Balkans and the unrecorded sale of military firearms that are inadequately deactivated or converted to [blank firing weapons] Slovakia and hence easily re-convertible to their original form”.
One of the greatest crimes of the proposed new controls suggested after the Paris attacks, and repeated after the Brussels bombing is the effect it would have on collections of historic firearms. The rules, said Ms. Triebel amounted to little more than cultural vandalism.
Expressing concern this particular part of the Commission’s proposals had received no media attention, she said: “The proposed measures included the destruction of thousands of irreplaceable heritage artefacts held by museums and recognised collectors.
“The Commission actually proposed that museums should have all their historical automatic firearms deactivated, leaving them useless for study and research for future generations.
In addition the new rules would also prevent museums from acquiring new items. As for those private collectors, the destruction would be even greater: “the Commission proposed that this heritage should be confiscated and destroyed without compensation to the owners.
“Citizens with even the slightest modicum of cultural appreciation, those who would have cringed when ISIS destroyed the temples of Palmyra will find this wanton act of institutionalised vandalism hard to digest”.
Speaking to Politico, Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation spokesman Filippo Segato said the legislation would hit minorities in the hunting community hardest. Highlighting the need to crack down on the black market rather than ordinary citizens, Mr. Segato said: “We don’t use Kalashnikovs for hunting”, and remarked semi-automatic firearms are most often used by women, and disabled hunters.
Driving home the point that hunters and sportsmen in Europe don’t tend to use the AK47’s associated with terrorism, he compared cracking down on sporting weapons after terror attacks to “getting a speeding ticket even if you have a driving license”.
On the defensive a Commission spokesman insisted that, despite the timing and clear use of terrorist attacks as a reason for the legislation, it wasn’t all about terror. They said: “The question of firearms is not limited to terrorist attacks… We cannot ignore that legal firearms have been used in other tragic events where children were killed in a school or young people massacred in a holiday camp. This directive is not about terrorism, but about firearms and public security”.
Ms. Triebel pointed to a recent article she had written on the subject — ‘How To Decrease Firearms Related Deaths’ — which pointed out that legally held firearms in the EU were emphatically not a problem. Stating “Most, if not all… firearms-related death will occur as a result of the possession of illicit weapons… [and] most suppliers are organised crime gangs”, the article quotes freely from the European Commission’s own in-depth study on firearm crime.
The report itself concludes the European Union has “a serious illicit firearms trafficking problem” fuelled by terrorist and criminal gangs, and that “most illicit firearms originate from cross-border trafficking”. Not mentioned are problems with terrorists and criminal gangs using legally owned hunting firearms.