Citation(s) from the literature library

Duquet, Nils and Maarten Van Alstein. 2016 ‘The Illegal Production and Alteration of Firearms.’ Guns for Sale: The Belgian Illicit Gun Market in a European Perspective; Chapter 1 (Section 1.3.1), pp. 7-8. Brussels: Flemish Peace Institute. 21 March

Relevant contents

1.3.1. The Illegal Production and Alteration of Firearms

The illegal production of firearms is the exception rather than the rule in Belgium. The police have only recorded 71 cases of the illegal production or repair of firearms and 6 cases of illegal production of ammunition since 2009 (which is minimal compared to the 1,225 recorded cases of illicit firearms trade in Belgium). This includes people who assembled their own firearms using stolen components of firearms, or components they acquired through another source…

In some cases, illegal production is carried out on a larger scale. Belgian handguns regularly cropped up in the Netherlands in the 1980s. They were identical to the arms legally produced by FN Herstal, but did not have serial numbers or proof marks. Research revealed that a number of employees had stolen firearms' components from the factory in order to produce their own complete weapons at home, and then sell them on the illegal market.(28)

The alteration of firearms, for example, by reactivating deactivated firearms or converting alarm pistols, gas pistols or replica firearms into sharp-shooting firearms, is a specific type of "production" that has generated more immediate concern. This is considered to be a primary source of illegal firearms possession in some EU Member States.(29)

Previous studies have shown that gas and alarm pistols, which are freely available in many of the EU Member States (including Belgium), are being converted into operational firearms…

In Belgium the reactivation of deactivated firearms is an important feature of the illicit gun market (31)…

It is believed that, partially as a result of the presence in the country of a major industrial producer of firearms (FN Herstal), a significant number of Belgians have the technical expertise to produce or alter firearms. Several retired employees of this company, for example, were recently arrested after police forces found approximately 50 firearms in their houses…

Sources Cited:

28) Spapens, A.C.M. (2008), De logistiek en aanpak van illegale vuurwapenhandel binnen de EU-landen, Justitiële verkenningen, 34: July (Illegale Wapenhandel), 66.

29) EY & SIPRI (2014), Study to support an Impact Assessment on a possible initiative related to improving rules on deactivation and marking procedures of firearms in the EU, as well as on alarm weapons and replicas, Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General Home Affairs; Centre for Strategy & Evaluation Services (2014), Study to Support an Impact Assessment on Options for Combatting Illicit Firearms Trafficking in the European Union, Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General Home Affairs.

30) De Vries, M.S. (2008), De handel in omgebouwde gas- en alarmwapens. Vanuit een criminaliteitskundig perspectief, Apeldoorn: National Dutch Police Academy; Boerman, F. & Bruinsma, M. (2012), De illegale handel in vuurwapens en explosieven: Verslag van een onderzoek voor het Nationaal dreigingsbeeld 2012, Zoetermeer, Dutch National Police Services Agency; Spapens, A.C.M. (2008), De logistiek en aanpak van illegale vuurwapenhandel binnen de EU-landen, Justitiële verkenningen, 34: July (Illegale Wapenhandel), 67-68.

31) Un marché des armes mais des sources variées, La Libre, 16 December 2011,

ID: Q11830

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