EU Speeds Proposals on Control of Firearms After Paris Attacks

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The European Union set out proposals to make it more difficult to acquire firearms in the EU and to better track legally held firearms.

The proposals were “significantly accelerated” after terror attacks in Paris last Friday left 129 people dead. The violence involved bombs and assault weapons at several locations in the French capital.

“The recent terrorist attacks on Europe’s people and values were coordinated across borders, showing that we must work together to resist these threats,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement. “We will also come forward with an action plan in the near future to tackle illicit arms trafficking.”

The proposals announced in Brussels on Wednesday include stricter rules to ban certain semi-automatic firearms. Such weapons “will not, under any circumstance, be allowed to be held by private persons, even if they have been permanently deactivated,” according to the commission.

The package also includes proposed tighter rules on the online acquisition of firearms; common rules on marking of firearms to improve the traceability; better exchange of information between EU governments; and an obligation to interconnect national registers of weapons.

The commission said it also is developing a plan to counter the illegal trafficking of weapons and explosives. No time frame was given for those proposals.

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