NEW EU REGULATION TO APPLY FROM 30 SEPTEMBER 2013: Transfer of firearms and ammunition to and from countries outside the EU

On 30 March 2012 the new EU Regulation No 258/2012 on the transfer of firearms and ammunition for civilian use, including by hunters and sport shooters, to and from countries outside the EU was published in the Official Journal of the EU, L 94.

The ‘simplified procedures’ secured by FACE and its partners in 2011 for the temporary export or re-export of firearms and ammunition for hunters and sport shooters are now laid down in Article 9 of the new Regulation. These provide an exemption for hunters from the standard procedures envisaged in the proposal, which would otherwise subject them to export, import and transit licensing and other authorisation systems – which would be both costly and time-consuming.

The bulk of the new Regulation - including the provisions of direct relevance to hunters and sport shooters - shall apply from 30 September 2013 in all Member States. In practical terms, this means that EU hunters only need their national hunting or firearms permit (or their European firearms pass if they exit the EU from a Member State where they do not live) to take their firearms temporarily to a country outside of the EU and subsequently bring them back. This is without prejudice to the conditions that EU hunters may have to fulfil in the visited country outside of the EU. The Regulation does not lay down common rules concerning the temporary import into the EU of firearms by non-EU hunters, which remains regulated at national level.