New rules to control exports of civilian-use firearms, such as sports and hunting weapons, were approved by Parliament on Thursday. These rules had already been informally agreed with the Council. Parliament wants to guarantee maximum safety, but also to ensure that hunters and sports shooters leaving the EU for a while do not have to go through unnecessary formalities
The proposal was passed with 624 votes in favour, 17 against and 2 abstentions.
The new EU regulation will give effect to the United Nations Firearms Protocol (UNFP) which aims to combat the illicit manufacture and trafficking of firearms through more effective controls of the export of civilian-use weapons.
European exporters will have to seek authorisation from Member States to export firearms and ammunition to countries outside the EU. Before issuing an export licence, Member States will also have to ensure that the destination country has no objection to the import or transit of the weapon. No authorisation will be required for hunters and sports shooters if they justify the reason for their journey and return to the EU within 24 months.
The list of firearms requiring export authorisation will be regularly updated by the Commission, which will have to notify Parliament and the Council promptly of the changes.
The new EU rules will not apply to fully automatic, deactivated or antique firearms, or to those for use by the armed forces or public authorities of the Member States. Neither will they apply to state-to-state transactions.