Recently I have been receiving lots of emails about the EU’s Firearms Directive (91/477/EC). Here’s the response that I have been sending to all concerned constituents:

The Commission proposal has recently passed a vote in the IMCO committee despite the attempts from UKIP MEPs to block it. This now means that the proposal will enter trilogue negotiations between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council before a final text is voted on in parliament on the 22nd November 2016.

We have received many emails and letters of concern regarding this proposal and I would like to briefly outline the main issues that UKIP have with this proposal.

Firstly, the weapons used in the Paris atrocity, and more generally the weapons used in most terrorist attacks, are illegally-held weapons.  Changing the law on gun ownership is therefore unlikely to have any significant impact on the availability of weapons to terrorists. Indeed the EU is clearly the problem, not the solution. There is extensive evidence that for example Croatia, which recently joined the EU, is a hotbed of smuggling – not only of arms, but also of money, drugs, people and even human organs. It has been said (and it is no exaggeration) that free movement of goods and people in the EU (and especially the Schengen area) has led to free movement of Kalashnikovs.

The problem is not that we have too little regulation, but that we are failing to implement the legislation we already have.

Secondly, so far as we understand it the UK already has some of the tightest firearms regulation in the world and this is confirmed in various statements from the Home Office. We do not believe that further legislation at EU level will make any additional contribution to public safety. In any case we in UKIP are opposed in principle to any extension of competences at the EU level.

I can therefore confirm that UKIP MEPs have, and will continue to, oppose the new EU Firearms proposal. Sadly, however, I fear it will be approved anyway. There is nothing most MEPs like more than a nice piece of gesture politics in response to public concern – whether or not their gesture has any practical effect. But the proposals are being driven forward by the unelected EU Commission which is desperate to distract people from the consequences of freedom of movement.

If you still have questions please do not hesitate to contact me at nathan.gill@europarl.europa.eu