EU Working on Deal to Combat Arms Trafficking

Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger
Matthew Dellinger holds a Political Science and History BS and is working towards a Masters in Public Administration. Before his time at Atlas he joined GoodPolitical to serve as a writer and contributor while also expanding his knowledge on global events. Matthew is proud to be a part of a news organization that believes in delivering truthful, unfiltered, and unbiased news to people around the world.

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What Happened:

An interim agreement was reached by the European Union to track the import and export of civilian firearms. This agreement aims to increase transparency in the arms trade, making it simpler to locate illicit weapons. Rather than having distinct regulations for each country, there is now a single set of rules used for tracing.

It is now simpler for law enforcement to check weapons and for legal merchants to register them thanks to new tracking systems, reporting guidelines, and preventative techniques. Part of the reason for this legal change is to combat organized crime and the rise in terror attacks in Europe.

The Details: 

According to EU estimates, there are 35 million illegal firearms in civilian hands, of which 630,000 are reported stolen. An electronic licensing system would be established under the first part of the provision in an attempt to combat the illegal weapons trade. This will completely replace the paper system used by each country and can be integrated into pre-existing digital databases. The EU believes it will take 2-4 years to get all the data from member states entered into the system, but it will streamline refusals and import/export authorizations.

This law would also create a reporting system that requires officials to create an annual report on the import and export of firearms for civilian use. It will include how many authorizations and refusals were granted, as well as the value of the weapons traded. There is also a reporting system for seizures that allows officials to benchmark how effective the new laws are.

The weapons themselves will be subject to a new “marking” system that manufacturers and dealers must follow. It makes it mandatory that any weapons or components sold be properly marked to avoid “ghost guns” and to improve traceability.

The commission has been working on this deal since 2022, when the Ukraine war spurred fears of illegal arms entering and leaving the EU. Criminal activity has also become increasingly violent, raising more concerns about safety. The commission reports that many of the arms circulating in the EU are from the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia.

What’s Next:

The next step in the process is for the EU parliament and council to give their final green light to enforce the provision. Once passed, measures will immediately go into effect, and the electronic licensing and marking regulations will be enforced. The hope is to stop Europe from being a key point in the illegal arms trade and to control what goes in and out of the country.

Bernd Lange, Chair of the International Trade Committee, said, “There are still inadequate controls on the import and export of handguns and rifles. In Latin America, for instance, many illegal activities and shootings occur with weapons smuggled from Europe.” There are many concerns about tackling internal issues with the illicit arms trade, but there is also hope that cracking down on it will reduce the global amount of crime with weapons from Europe.