European Union officials are working to make already tough European gun laws more draconian by citing the threat of terror to limit legal gun ownership. As we previously reported, U.S. officials are likely in the early stages of similar efforts.
The European Commission said EU member nations have reached a preliminary agreement to “allow better tracking of legally held firearms thus reducing the risk of diversion into illegal markets.”
The agreement, according to EU officials, bans automatic firearms which have been converted to semi-automatic, and increases regulation on firearms that have been deactivated. In addition, the move increases scrutiny of online firearm sales and makes it easier for member states to share information on firearm owners.
The European Commission began working on more gun control proposals after the deadly attacks in Paris last year which left 130 people dead.
Members of the group had originally sought to completely ban the ownership of all of AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds across the whole European Union.
“The Commission had proposed a greater level of ambition with a complete ban of the most dangerous semi-automatic firearms, including all semi-automatic firearms of the AK47 or AR15 families and a ban of assault weapons for private collectors,” officials said in a statement. “The Commission also regrets that the magazine size was not limited to 10 rounds for all semi-automatic firearms.”
The idea was quashed by pressure from EU gun manufacturers as well as countries like Finland, whose mandatory military service requires the ownership of weapons that would have been banned by the rules.
After the attacks in Paris last year, European leaders lamented that France’s harsh gun laws were thwarted by less stringent firearm regulations in other parts of Europe and the Unions’ open borders policies.
That’s similar to the argument officials in U.S. cities with high rates of firearm crime despite strict gun laws have been using for years.
Similarly, the idea that legal gun ownership makes extremist attacks more likely is popular with government officials on both sides of the Atlantic.
Former NSA head Michael Hayden suggested recently that the U.S. government’s spying capabilities are inadequate to prevent terror attacks, so increased gun control should be a next step in the War on Terror.
Hayden suggested that U.S. officials should look at banning some of the most powerful firearms currently legal in the U.S. to make terrorists “less efficient.”
The Obama administration, meanwhile, is attempting last ditch efforts to ensure U.S. participation in the UN Arms Trade Treaty, which could bring some elements of EU style gun control to the nation.
Altogether, what this suggests is that the international community’s leaders are looking to use terrorism to clamp down on firearm ownership in the same way the threat of terror was used to increase surveillance activity throughout the world in recent decades.