Press release

PM calls for EU-wide ban on high-powered semi-automatic weapons

At the EU Council this week the PM will propose measures to tackle terrorism, including an EU-wide ban on high-powered semi-automatic weapons.

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The Prime Minister will call for an EU-wide ban on high-powered semi-automatic weapons at the European Council later this week, as part of a long term plan to counter terrorism.

As European leaders prepare to gather for a summit that will discuss the EU’s response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Prime Minister has asked officials to draw up a package of proposals to tackle the ongoing terrorist threat, which the PM could raise at the Council with a view to agreement on a range of measures next year.

The plan is set to include a number of measures to crack down on the illegal trade in firearms to prevent terrorists getting hold of weapons with which they seek to cause mass casualties.

Alongside the ban, these would include:

  • greater sharing of ballistics data
  • a new plan to improve firearms intelligence in the western Balkans, with a tougher legislative and enforcement framework and action to take firearms out of circulation
  • a clear implementation for all member states to deliver the restrictions and alert systems that can prevent terrorists accessing material for explosives

The Prime Minister will also call for greater efforts to undermine Daesh ideology and online radicalisation.

Ahead of the summit, the Prime Minister said:

The horrific terrorist atrocities in Paris underlined the scale of the terrorist threat facing Europe.

A terrorist threat in one country is a danger to all of us, so I believe there is more we must do together to tackle the terrorist threat posed by Daesh.

We need to ensure that terrorists do not have the weapons with which they can wreak such tragedy. So at this week’s summit, I’ll be calling for a new EU-wide ban on all high-powered semi-automatic weapons and greater co-operation to crack down on the smuggling trade and to stop guns coming in from the western Balkans.

Together we must do more to protect our citizens and to protect the way of life we hold so dear.

Officials are also considering other measures to:

  • improve data sharing
  • strengthen border and transport security
  • further action to disrupt terrorist financing
  • tackle extremism online

Leaders are due to discuss terrorism, alongside migration and the UK’s renegotiation, at the summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels.

Published 13 December 2015