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Stephen Petroni's speech at the Stakeholders meeting at the European Parliament

03.03.2016

Stephen Petroni, Chairman of Fesac, was the first speaker at the Stakeholders meeting at the European Parliament. Here is Stephen's speech here and a link to fesac proposal for revised directive that was handed to attendees.

 

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

I speak on behalf of FESAC which is a Foundation that represents the interests of firearm collectors in Europe.

We are thankful to the Rapporteur, Shadows and MEPs who are giving due consideration to the importance of collectors. The working document asks whether there should be any differentiation between "authorised bodies" such as museums and "collectors".

Our answer is “No” - Museums and Collectors are two sides of the same coin. Both have the same objectives: acquiring, preserving and studying artefacts for the ultimate benefit of society.

Whilst museums displays serve to educate visitors that have a generic interest in the topic, it is private collectors who are mainly responsible for the wider dissemination of scientific study through online and printed publications that are a source of information even for museums.

Indeed, private collections are comparable to museum reserve collections – they are not openly accessible to the public but still available for study by researchers and authors. Moreover many private collections have been the basis of today’s museums.

Thus it is crucial that you understand that the preservation of our common heritage in firearms may only be achieved through exempting museums AND collectors from the Directive.

The Commission proposes to end Collectors’ exemption on grounds that they may be a source for illicit trafficking. But what exactly does the Commission understand by the term ‘collector’? The Commission is clearly referring to persons who do not acquire and keep firearms is accordance with national law. That does not qualify them as Collectors: the current directive is explicit: only persons who are recognised as collectors by Member States may be exempt. And contrary to what the Commission attempts to imply, recognised collectors may only acquire and keep Category A, B and C firearms provided that they are licensed by the Member State in which they are based.

In conclusion we fully agree with the Rapporteur when she states that the word "collector" is used but not defined. Indeed FESAC has proposed the introduction of a definition of Collector in the Directive and further proposes vetting procedures that can be adopted by Member States in granting recognition to persons who qualify as Collectors under this definition.

Our proposals are based on models that are working well in a number of Member States. We do not need to re-invent the wheel."

Fesac proposal for revised directive was also offered to attendees. You can find a copy of it <here>