The Czech Republic, backed by Poland and Hungary, had challenged EU’s 2017 gun regulations
The European Union’s highest court has upheld the gun control regulations placed by Brussels across the 28-member state bloc.
Tuesday’s ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) was in response to a legal challenge filed by the Czech Republic against EU’s gun control directives.
In 2017, the EU passed a series of directives regulating the acquisition and possession of firearms. These restrictions imposed by the European Parliament and the European Council “do not breach legal principles,” the Luxembourg-based court ruled. The Czech Republic, supported by Poland and Hungary, had urged the court to annul the 2017 EU-wide regulations that sharply restrict private gun ownership.
The 2017 directives created a legal framework for regulating the ownership of firearms across Europe and allowed the EU member states “from adopting and applying stricter rules,” a European Council statement said. While counties like Germany have been following the EU’s lead and making it harder for citizens to acquire firearms, the Eastern European countries have come out against anti-gun regulations being imposed on them by unelected Eurocrats sitting in faraway Brussels.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported the European court’s judgment:
The Court [ECJ] ruled that the measures taken by the European Parliament and the Council “in the contested directive do not entail breaches of the principles of conferral of powers, proportionality, legal certainty, protection of legitimate expectations or non-discrimination as alleged by the Czech Republic in support of its action.”
The EU measures against the use of semi-automatic rifles for private use are intended to curb gun violence and prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons on the black market.
Support for the new rules gained traction following several terror atrocities on European soil, including attacks in Paris, Nice and Brussels over the past several years.
The EU’s firearms policy reform toughens gun control across the bloc and makes it harder for EU citizens to obtain and possess certain weapons. It also created tougher rules for licensing and registration of guns.
“With a view to abolishing border controls within the Schengen area, the Firearms Directive established a harmonized minimum framework for the possession and acquisition of firearms and their transfer between Member States,” the ECJ said in a statement.
“To that end, that directive lays down provisions concerning the conditions subject to which various categories of firearms may be acquired and held, while laying down, on the basis of requirements of public safety, that the acquisition of certain types of firearm must be prohibited,” it added.
The opposition to the EU-sponsored gun regulations has come from nationalist and right-wing parties across Europe. The nationalist governments of Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic have led the legal battle against the EU’s anti-gun laws.
Italy’s Liga Party chief Minister Matteo Salvini, who pulled his party out of the governing coalition last September, passed regulations making it easier for homeowners to use firearms against intruders. He drew outrage from the media and left-wing politicians for saying: “Defense is always legitimate! From words to actions.”
Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party has also opposed these anti-gun laws, calling for loose restrictions on private gun ownership.
“Those owning legal weapons are law-abiding citizens. Crimes with lawfully-owned weapons simply don’t happen,” member of the AfD’s executive body Thomas Thumm said recently. “A serious intrusion is taking place on people’s rights under the cover of supposed domestic security.”
The EU gun directives come at a time when the migrant crime is surging at an all-time high. An imported knife-crime epidemic has hit major European cities like London and Paris. Instead of securing borders, clamping down on illegal immigration, and going after Islamic radicals, the European governments have decided to restrict their citizens’ ability to defend themselves.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly triggered outrage in the European political and media circles for criticizing anti-gun laws in Europe. Talking about the November 2015 Islamic terror attack in Paris, President Trump suggested last year that “it would have been a whole different story” if French citizens were armed.
“France is proud to be a country where acquiring and carrying firearms is strictly regulated,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said while blasting President Trump at that time. Jihadi terrorists carried out execution-style killings in Bataclan theater, murdering 90 people. The final death toll of the Islamic State-inspired Paris terror attack was 130.
Trump slams European gun regulations.
[Cover image via YouTube]