Despite previous establishment of strict gun-ownership laws within the European Union, plans are underway to further tighten regulations in a move aimed at reducing gun crime within the territory.
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The European Union, which consists of 28 member states, currently enforces a complete ban on the non-governmental ownership of all automatic weapons as well as the majority of semi-automatic variants.
This is a stark contrast to the position held my many US states where gun laws are far more liberal and, in the case of Colorado, even students of some universities are allowed to carry a concealed weapon following the overturning of a gun ban.
Furthermore, a recent study from the American Journal of Medicine suggests gun-related homicide throughout the United States is 25 times higher compared with other high-income countries and 49 times higher for people aged between 15 and 24.
Now, gun ownership is set to become increasingly regulated after the previous laws established back in 2008 were deemed to be outdated and inadequate, leaving the union “vulnerable to criminal activity”.
Some of the proposed changes include:
- An additional ban of semi-automatic weapons which have a strong resemblance to automatic weapons
- Ceasing the trade of weapons previously deemed to be decommissioned or deactivated
- More stringent procedures to be placed upon the purchasing of components and ammunition through ecommerce sites
- Gun licenses will become a pre requisite for gun brokers and there will be additional background checks carried out on them as well
- Changes in the way new guns are registered to help make tracing weapons easier once the purchase has been complete
- Categorising all replica firearms as ‘Category C Firearms’
The Charlie Hebdo and November 2015 Paris attacks which, between them, claimed the lives of over 140 innocent people are two of the leading causal factors for the onset of this new legislation.
Whilst the intention of these changes is surely honest and retrospectively justifiable, it may also instigate negative consequences for many airsoft retailers and players as a result of the final point in the list above.
If airsoft weapons become classed as Category C Weapons, this will make the sale and ownership of these firearms extremely difficult and could present a real, fundamental problem for all concerned.
This category will require a more involved licensing process as well as more extensive registering and even potential serialisation of airsoft replicas to ensure they are used safely and for their intended purpose.
Despite good intentions, the effects of the proposed changes on the hobbyist industry are unnecessary due to present laws providing sufficient protection from the criminal misuse of replica weapons.
Furthermore, the real issue lies elsewhere. Many of the weapons utilised in the majority of terrorist attacks (especially in the case of the recent Paris events) were not RIFs and were, instead, sourced from different locations in countries across the world.