This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website
Controls on firearms purchases and possession
WHAT DOES THIS DIRECTIVE DO?
The directive establishes 4 categories of firearms by order of their level of danger, defined in Annex I to the directive.
The directive does not apply to commercial transfers of weapons and ammunition of war nor to the acquisition or possession of weapons and ammunition* by:
The directive does not affect the application of national provisions concerning the carrying of weapons, hunting or target shooting.
A European firearms pass is issued by the authorities of an EU country to any person lawfully taking possession of and using a firearm. The pass must always be in the possession of the person using the firearm or firearms listed on it.
Identification and tracing
Sale, acquisition and possession
The acquisition and possession of a firearm is permitted when a person:
A person that meets the requirements for the acquisition and possession of any firearm may be given a multiannual licence. In such cases, certain formalities must be observed:
To control the movement of firearms within the EU, the directive lays down procedures for the:
Role of EU countries
Review and proposals
The European Commission presented a report on the application of this directive in November 2015 as part of a package of measures on firearms. The package included a proposal for a revision of the Firearms Directive.
FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?
It applies since 17 October 1991. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 1 January 1993.
* Firearm: any portable barrelled weapon that expels, is designed to expel or may be converted to expel a shot, bullet or projectile by the action of a combustible propellant.
* Ammunition: the complete round or the components of thereof, including cartridge cases, primers, propellant powder, bullets or projectiles, that are used in a firearm.
* Broker: any natural or legal person, other than a dealer, whose trade or business consists wholly or partly in the buying, selling or arranging the transfer of weapons.
* Dealer: any natural or legal person whose trade or business consists wholly or partly in the manufacture, trade, exchange, hiring out, repair or conversion of firearms, parts and ammunition.
Council Directive 91/477/EEC of 18 June 1991 on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (OJ L 256, 13.9.1991, pp. 51-58)
Successive amendments to Directive 91/477/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Evaluation of Council Directive 91/477/EC of 18 June 1991, as amended by Directive 2008/51/EC of 21 May 2008, on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (COM(2015) 751 final of 18.11.2015)
last update 17.03.2016