Citation(s) from the literature library

European Council. 1991 ‘European Weapons Directive.’ Council Directive of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons (91/477/EEC) [current to 2008 amendments]. Brussels: Council of the European Communities. 18 June

Relevant contents

European Weapons Directive

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, and in particular Article 100a thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),

In cooperation with the European Parliament (2),

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (3),

Whereas Article 8a of the Treaty provides that the internal market must be established by not later than 31 December 1992; whereas the internal market comprises an area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty;

Whereas, at its meeting in Fontainebleau on 25 and 26 June 1984, the European Council expressly set the objective of abolishing all police and customs formalities at intra-Community frontiers;

Whereas the total abolition of controls and formalities at intra-Community frontiers entails the fulfilment of certain fundamental conditions; whereas in its white paper 'Completing the internal market' the Commission stated that the abolition of controls on the safety of objects transported and on persons entails, among other things, the approximation of weapons legislation;

Whereas abolition of controls on the possession of weapons at intra-Community frontiers necessitates the adoption of effective rules enabling controls to be carried out within Member States on the acquisition and possession of firearms and on their transfer to another Member State; whereas systematic controls must therefore be abolished at intra-Community frontiers;

Whereas the mutual confidence in the field of the protection of the safety of persons which these rules will generate between Member States will be the greater if they are underpinned by partially harmonized legislation; whereas it would therefore be useful to determine category of firearms whose acquisition and possession by private persons are to be prohibited, or subject to authorization, or subject to declaration;

Whereas passing from one Member State to another while in possession of a weapon should, in principle, be prohibited; whereas a derogation therefrom is acceptable only if a procedure is adopted that enables Member States to be notified that a firearm is to be brought into their territory;

Whereas, however, more flexible rules should be adopted in respect of hunting and target shooting in order to avoid impeding the free movement of persons more that is necessary;

Whereas the Directive does not affect the right of Member States to take measures to prevent illegal trade in weapons,


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