Friday, 21 December 2007

EU to regulate guns

The EU commissar for industry, Günter Verheugen, has told Die Welt Online that the EU wants to strengthen laws against gun ownership in order to restrict the circulation of illegal weapons. A directive is being prepared which would require all EU member states to introduce minimum standards for the control of weapons. “Arms must be subject to the strictest controls and they should be in private hands only under exceptional circumstances,” said Verheugen. The commissar said that any new directive would certainly change German law. The proposal is to store information on the ownership of individual guns for at least 20 years in a computerised data bank. This list would be open to prosecutors and the police. Weapons will also have to bear a registration mark indicating the place and date of their manufacture.

Any arms retailer will be required to keep information about the weapons he has sold for as long as he is in business, not just for five years as at present. He said that the law would also cover so-called convertible weapons which are not dangerous in themselves, but which can be converted into shotguns. “This is particularly a problem in Great Britain,” he said. Verheugen said that illegal weapons would henceforth be destroyed as soon as they are seized. Verheugen said the new law would be introduced in 2009. There will also be a European weapon pass, restrictions on which will also be tightened. Verheugen and others who support this new law have reminded people that there have been mass killings in schools (in Germany and in Finland) and that this is the reason why the new laws are necessary. [Die Welt, 29 November 2007]

---- An excerpt from John Laughland's Intelligence Digest. For a free e-mail subscription to the Intelligence Digest, please click here ----

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