JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS: MOVES TO RE-VAMP FIREARMS MONITORING SYSTEM.
The Schengen Information System contains data on all stolen or lost firearms, which is supposed to help national police in criminal investigations. However, because of labelling inconsistencies, they currently have to go through the whole list by serial number, instead of confining their search to a particular make or model. The problem has arisen partly because firearms experts devised the coding system, but police officials actually categorise the guns. Furthermore, varying translations of arms such as "hunting gun" mean that the one weapon could appear in numerous categories. The Spanish are trying to standardise definitions and merge some categories together in order to eliminate these duplications.A further problem is that the way the calibre of a gun is defined. Currently, this usually involves calculating how many bullets produced from one pound (0.453kg) of lead could be fired from the gun (12, 16, 20 etc). Thus, the bigger the barrel of the gun, the fewer amount of bullets could be fired, the lower the calibre. However, for small guns, the calibre sometimes means the diameter of the gun barrel, either in millimetres or inches. The Spanish complain that the latter system can cause serious discrepancies because it takes no account of the length of the barrel. It proposes sticking to the first method but, but to make it more precise by also specifying the gun model (e.g. Winchester Magnum).The new suggested coding system is as follows:*Pistol: Under 60cm, semi-automatic gun-fire i.e. each time the trigger is pulled, the cartridge re-charges itself*Revolver: Under 60cm, loaded by a cylindrical barrel, semi-automatic*Other short arms: Would include stun guns (emitting anaesthetics), flare guns and pen guns*Hunting guns: Over 60cm, either smooth or grooved barrels*Other long arms: Includes cane-guns and mooring guns (shoots out rope)*Long arms with grooved barrel: Over 60cm, can work shot-by-shot or semi-automatically*Long arms with continuous fire: Over 60cm, automatic gunfire i.e. a single trigger pull or press releases all the loaded bullets*Machine-gun pistols: Between 30 and 60cm, automatic*Other war weapons: Includes grenade or rocket launchers, bazookas and combined weapons i.e. where the barrels can be changed and different bullet types fired from it--A key part of the EU legal framework for firearms is the 1990 Schengen Convention, an entire chapter of which is devoted to the subject (Articles 77-91). It requires all weapons to be classified as either banned, subject to authorisation or subject to declaration. Personal possession of weapons of war, automatic weapons, projectiles and dumdums must be outlawed. Permits are required for semi-automatic weapons, while single shot firearms such as rifles simply need to be declared. Gun permits should only be issued if the person is aged over eighteen years, has no criminal convictions and is not a threat to public policy or security.According to the Schengen Convention, all firearms must have a serial number. The Member States should carry out checks on all firearms manufacturers and dealers, who in turn must keep a register of their customers. The Convention also established an information exchange system between designated contact points, which can pass on data on firearms acquisition to local police and border guards.--
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|Title Annotation:||Schengen Information System|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||May 15, 2002|
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