After November’s Paris attacks, the European Commission proposed a new set of gun-control regulations that would, among other things, ban semi-automatics and institute a tracking system for firearms bought online. “The question of firearms is not limited to terrorist attacks,” a commission spokesperson said. “This directive is … about firearms and public security.”
In response, Europe’s gun owners are mobilizing like never before. A petition started by a Belgian sport shooter has attracted nearly 317,000 signatures, due to support from hunters’ associations, manufacturers and pro-gun groups like Firearms United, a grassroots group started in 2013, which also spearheaded an email campaign targeting “faceless and unelected Eurocrats wanting to take our guns.” Meanwhile, Brussels group FACE is organizing conferences and in-person meetings with lawmakers.
Despite the well-established futility of trying to stop crime by targeting the law-abiding, the proposal will probably move forward in some form. However, it seems the burgeoning pro-gun movement is already having an effect on the debate: “As always, we in the Commission are open to improvements to the text,” a Commission spokesperson said.