Slowly a sense of defeatism is starting to spread among law abiding European gun owners. It seems that there is a substantial resilience against empirical facts and reasoning within both the EU-Commission and parts of the Parliament that supports the stipulated agenda. There seems to be a situation of one step forward and then two steps back. The EU-Commission behaves more like a stubborn child rather than statesmanlike with a respect for due democratic process.
What this really boils down to is a battle for hearts and minds in which there are no measures that are taboo, at least for part of the proponents of the Commission´s stance.
Nikolaj Nielsen wrote in his EUobserver article:
how the EU-Commission in pushing for new European laws to counter terrorism. In the article he writes how an EU-official describes the opponents of the bill regarding firearms as being: “some harder edged NRA [US National Rifle Association] stuff”. I assume the official is referring to among others Firearms United who is a voice against laws being passed against law abiding gun owners interests without following the EU´s own policies and laws and are strong supporters of the principal that the passing of laws must be based upon facts and empirical relevance. Since the NRA is perceived in a very negative light, not always based upon objective grounds, in most European countries, this is really an outspoken attempt the portray the opponent as being an extremist. From an objective perspective it is really the other way around in the European context. Further the official said:
“I mean it really is a libertarian movement, who seem to think that holding a gun, including heavy duty military automatic machine guns is somehow part of your right as a citizen..”
Well, now this is really not what this is about. For the average citizen the concerns of the official seems legitimate and that is part of the agenda of the proponents for the Firearms Directive. People have to understand that the actual question is if it is acceptable, “for the greater good” to put aside standard procedure of passing new laws regarding problem assessment, analysis of consequences and most of all principals of subsidiarity? A very relevant matter of principals.
If we take the modern AR15 semi automatic sporter rifle as an example it is a civilian semiautomatic fire only rifle. It is built to not be readily converted to fire in automatic mode. However it is a common outright lie that is repeated time and time again according to the logic that for every time the lie is told it becomes a little more true, that the rifle can the converted into an fully automatic assault rifle within a matter of minutes by anyone at their kitchen table. This claim has been debunked repeated times by for instance experts at the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration. However that has not prevented for instance Peter Thorsell from the Swedish Police, who also happens to be the technical adviser to the Swedish Government and one of the people that has contributed the most to the agenda of the EU-Commission, to repeatedly use this lie in mass media.
Why should a civilian firearm be reclassified as a military firearm, especially so based upon propaganda and outright lies? One could argue that in that case most repeating bolt action rifles should also be reclassified since they are based upon a military design, the Mauser? The venerable Lee-Enfield bolt action rifle was even converted into an automatic rifle known as the Charlton in New Zealand during WWII. The fact is that a skilled technician can with the right tooling and know how build a firearm from scratch if need be and it also stands true that most firearms have a military past in one form of the other. This is true even regarding single shot rifles such as the Remington Rolling Block and Falling Block designs. Even muzzle loading flintlocks or gunpowder as such for that matter. Military technology has always been adapted to civilian use through out the centuries, whether it be firearms, nylon or computer technology. This really shows how much this question is about an agenda driven by propaganda rather than facts.
If we see to the hard facts regarding the Firearms Directive it was proposed just days after heinous terrorist attacks in Paris. However the focus of the Directive is almost entirely against law abiding citizen’s sporter rifles and very much less directed towards terrorists and other criminals although the firearms used in Paris were illegal military grade fully automatic AK47 assault rifles sold on the black market. Initially they were deactivated in a way that was not in accordance with European law that the EU however has failed to implement in practice. The Directive has also been justified by the Commission by using false statistics by including non member states. Furthermore the Swedish Commissioner Cecilia Malmström made an attempt to push through a similar Directive in 2013 so the Firearms Directive is a well seasoned brew that has nothing to do with the horrendous terrorist attacks in Paris per se although the EU-Commission claims otherwise.
How can standing up for law and order, due democratic process and for implementation of political decisions based upon empirical facts and reason be labeled as “extremist”? If we see to the actual facts one might wonder who the real extremists are? Hence the Firearms Directive is really an ideological battle for hearts and minds even more so than just a technical question about firearms.
Nielsen also wrote in his article regarding the push by the EU-Commission for new laws to counter terrorism :
“Any glorifying remark you could make about Nelson Mandela or Che Guevara, in principle, it is part of the definition,” Dr Marloes van Noorloos, assistant professor of criminal law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, told this website last week.”
Again I ask you, who are the real extremists? European politics certainly have an Orwellian air these days..