Regular readers of Airsoft Action will know that European airsoft industry giants, ActionSportGames and Cybergun, joined forces to fight the EU’s draconian proposals with regard to the licensing of airsoft devices.
We are therefore delighted to have received this exclusive news from ASG and Cybergun…
Joint Status Report no. 3 from ActionSportGames A/S (ASG) and Cybergun regarding the proposal for amendments of the EU firearms directive:
As informed in our first and second Joint Status Reports (see here and here) The European Commissionreleased a proposal for amendment of the EU Firearms Directive on November 18, 2015.
The proposal came shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 and was aimed at a better and stronger regulation of the acquisition and possession of firearms in Europe.
In their eagerness to show rapid action the Commission unfortunately made the proposal too broad, as they proposed that “replica firearms” should be categorized in Category C, which meant that purchase and possession of airsoft and airgun devices would be subject to registration.
If the EU institutions approved the proposal, it would have been the end of the practice of airsoft and airgun devices within the EU.
Airsoft and airgun devices are not only our business, but also our hobby and passion, and ASG and Cybergun therefore agreed to join forces to take the strongest possible action against the proposal from the minute it was published.
We have spoken our case at several meetings with the representatives of the Parliament, Commision and Council – all of them representatives with the actual power to influence the final text to be adopted by the Parliament. From the very first meetings we realized that we would be able to have airsoft and airgun devices
excluded from the directive proposal, if we simply laid out the fact that law abiding airsoft and airgun device owners do not pose a threat to the public security within the EU and that it is unreasonable to consider airsoft and airgun devices as real firearms.
The first official indication of the successful outcome of our efforts came on July 13, 2016, when the IMCO committee under the Parliament proposed to delete the paragraph that had included airsoft and airgun devices in the scope of the proposed directive.
This was definitely a very important milestone, but it was too early to declare “victory”, as there was a risk that airsoft and airguns was included back in the scope during the so-called trialogue negotiations.
During the trialogue negotiations, we therefore continued to actively try to influence the key actors in the process in order to secure the future of our passion.
Once again our voices were heard and the compromise text to be voted on by the Parliament did not include airsoft and airgun devices as part of the directive text. In fact airsoft devices are now expressly excluded in the recitals.
On March 14, 2017 the Parliament adopted in plenary the compromise text by 491 votes for, 178 against and 28 abstentions.
The agreement should be formally adopted during an upcoming Council (probably during the ECOFIN Council on the 21st of March or the Justice and Home Affairs Council on the 28th of March) before being published in the Official Journal of the EU and therefore entering into force.
With the Parliament vote we now dare to declare victory – at least when it comes to the process in the EU institutions!
Working on this matter in the meeting rooms and corridors in Brussels, we have not met any other company from the airsoft and/or airgun industry, and it may therefore seem that we have been fighting this battle alone. However, from our offices in Denmark and France, we have been in close contact with other
organizations within the world of airsoft and airgun devices, and we would specifically direct a warm thank you to the European Airsoft Association (EAA) for their input and assistance during this year-long battle.
As the agreement is a directive, it will need national implementation in each of the 28 EU Member States over the coming months. ASG and Cybergun will therefore continue to work together to monitor the national parliament processes in order to secure that the directive is being implemented in a way that it does not negatively affect the current status of our beloved passion, sport and hobby.
Christian Trolle ANDERSEN (Corporate Legal Advisor for ASG)
Hugo BRUGIERE (CEO & Vice Chairman for Cybergun)
If you would like a copy of the original Joint Status Report in .pdf format, click [HERE].