The IMCO committee of the European Parliament has just voted in favour of amendment 107 of proposal 2015/0269 to amend the European firearms directive. 107 is the outcome of the trilogue compromise, and includes text which specifically exempts airsoft from the firearms directive. So airsoft replicas will NOT be reclassified as firearms.
If the initial proposal had not been amended then all airsoft replicas and even blank fire grenades would have been reclassified as firearms. This would have functioned as an Europe wide ban on airsoft, the same situation as Australia is in. By the way the UK is still in the EU and this directive still has to be implemented in UK law.
Big pat on the back to all the organisations that lobbied in favour of airsoft (notably UKAPUs parent body, EAA, and ASG/Cybergun) and the many thousands of airsoft players who wrote to their MEP.
There’s not much call for celebration though. The new directive will mean additional needless regulations for UK firearms owners such as magazine capacity restriction. Please don’t forget that many firearms owners helped fight this attack on airsoft. We also need to help them wherever we can, if either of our sports hope to survive. And the new regulation will do little to protect us from terrorism either, which was the supposed intention.
If you aren’t aware, this was the biggest legal crisis ever faced by airsoft in history, we nearly lost airsoft across the whole continent, and it’s not hard to imagine the rest of the world would have followed Europe’s example, as they often do. Yet very few people in the airsoft community took an interest. Many of you probably didn’t even hear about what was going on. As a community, we need to ask ourselves why news of this crisis wasn’t spread, why most people weren’t talking about it or fighting back. Airsoft won’t survive if we only give our attention to trivial matters.
European Airsoft Association will be in Brussels again, acting as your representatives, over the coming months to check there are no errors made when the firearms directive is redrafted.
Please don’t get this mixed up with the Policing and Crime Act, which is an unrelated ongoing issue.
But this EU proposal case is basically closed in regards to Airsoft. Phew!
Matt Furey-King, Chair UKAPU