Conservative MEP to oversee new EU gun laws

17-Dec-2015 @ 12:0

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Conservative MEP Vicky Ford has been handed the role of overseeing the formulation and scrutiny of tougher EU gun laws which have been proposed in the wake of the Paris terrorist attack.

Mrs Ford, who chairs the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, was today appointed rapporteur for legislation amending the current EU Directive on firearms.

Initial proposals were published by the European Commission in November and include a ban on collectors owning deactivated so-called Category A weapons such as machine guns, ending civilian use of semi-automatic weapons which resemble those with automatic mechanisms, and standardised medical tests for anyone applying for a firearms certificate.

However, the plans prompted concern from museum owners and collectors, sporting organisations and groups such as the Countryside Alliance. There are also questions over how the proposals, as currently drafted, might affect military reservists in some countries, activities such as paint balling and historic re-enactments as well as the use of guns in films and television productions.

"In the aftermath of the tragic Paris attacks it is right that we look at what more can be done on a practical basis to tackle terrorism and criminal activities," said Mrs Ford, MEP for Eastern England. "Effective gun controls are part of this.

"However, we need to ensure the rules are proportionate and that they tackle real problems. There are some genuine concerns that the Commission's initial draft is unclear and poorly worded. I will be working closely with experts, colleagues and interested parties in the coming months to make sure we get the legislation right."

Mrs Ford stressed that the UK already had some of Europe's most stringent gun laws and said any new legislation must be coupled with effective enforcement against illegal arms, crime and terrorism across Europe.

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