While perhaps not the most publicized recent development regarding the European Union, in recent weeks the political bloc has pushed forward with its plans to severely curtail gun rights across its 27 member states. On June 10, the European Council endorsed a version of the proposed changes to the European Firearms Directive pushed by the European Commission late last year in the wake of terrorist violence. The European Parliament still has a chance to weigh in on the issue, with a final vote scheduled for later this year.
In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the EU’s quasi-legislative (and simultaneously executive) branch, the European Commission, expedited plans to set new minimum gun control thresholds for its member states. The centerpiece of the new restrictions is a provision that severely restricts civilian ownership and use of semi-automatic firearms, by placing many of these types of guns in the same category as fully-automatic firearms. Other proposed changes include a new rule placing a five-year limit on firearm license validity, and a requirement for a medical examination for prospective license holders.
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