EU ministers seek clampdown on firearms after Paris, Brussels attacks

EU interior ministers will seek Friday to agree tighter restrictions on the ownership and trade of firearms, in an effort to clamp down on terrorism following deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels.

The measures, revising existing EU firearms legislation, were proposed by the European Commission days after attackers armed with Kalashnikov rifles and explosive vests killed 130 people in Paris last November.

Once in place, the new rules will make it "more difficult to have firearms move from legal to illegal," said Dutch Interior Minister Ard van der Steur, whose country holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

The proposal on the table would increase controls on online sales of firearms, require the registration of alarm pistols and blank firing guns that can be converted into lethal weapons, and lay out tighter rules on the labelling of guns and gun parts, among other things.

"We have set standards, and there will now be no more weapons that can be traded without being registered," noted Emily Haber, secretary of state in Germany's Interior Ministry.

Once ministers have agreed on their approach, the proposal must be negotiated with the European Parliament before it can be put into law.

The move is part of EU efforts to clamp down on criminal and terrorist activities, including a recent decision to store airline passenger data and measures aimed at terrorist financing.

The ministers are also expected Friday to approve a roadmap aimed at improving the exchange of information between law enforcement and intelligence services across Europe.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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