Labour Euro MP wins wide backing in campaign on smuggled weapons
LABOUR Euro MP
and Chair of the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee,
Arlene McCarthy, has won agreement from the overwhelming majority of
European Governments for a new law to tighten control on guns in
The Member States supported Arlene's own amendments which will clamp
down on convertible weapons throughout Europe – the UK already bans
convertible weapons but some EU countries do not.
Arlene said:- “I'm pleased that our hard work in persuading so
many Member States to back stricter controls has paid off. I was
first made aware of the problem with convertible weapons coming in
from Germany and Lithuania by Greater Manchester Police, when I took
part in the Police Service Parliamentary Scheme. Since then I have
heard further compelling evidence from Mothers Against Violence and
other community activists in Manchester.
It was a convertible weapon that killed school girl Kamilah
Penistone. 46% of the weapons seized by Greater Manchester Police
last year were converted weapons so who knows how many other
innocent lives these weapons have claimed across the UK.
We can legislate on guns as much as we like in the UK, but if we
don’t work with our European partners on weapons law, guns will
continue to find there way into the UK and kill young people on our
inner city streets.
For this to become law all the European
Institutions must give their backing to it. I believe that our
citizens expect us to tackle the supply of guns to criminals. This
is one of those issues where, as Commission President Barroso has
frequently said, Europe can show it is relevant and necessary, and
this is one of those key times. Therefore, I call on the European
Commission to give its backing for the proposals. The new
stricter controls will not affect the rights of those who are
legally entitled to possess weapons for legitimate purposes in
national law, this is about keeping guns out of the hands of
The proposals must now formally gain agreement from the Member
States and the European Commission. The European Parliament will
then vote. If adopted by all institutions the law could come into
force across Europe in January 2008, with a 2 year deadline for
Member States to adapt their laws to enforce this.
What will Arlene’s amendments achieve?
Convertible weapons will now be classified as a firearm and subject
to the same laws as any other. They will have to carry unique
identifying numbers, could only be purchased by someone with
permission from their national authorities to do so, and would have
to be registered to their owner meaning the source of a weapon used
in a crime can be traced quickly and easily.
Arlene also got the Commission and Member States to review laws
concerning the sale of other realistic replicas across the EU.
This law will tighten controls to prevent criminal use of firearms
without inconveniencing legal users of weapons, including hunters
and sport shooters. Charges will be abolished for use of the
European Firearms Pass (the permission granted to use a weapon in
another EU country) and the law calls for all Member States to
simplify procedures for legal users in getting permission to acquire
and possess weapons.
REPORT OUTLINES ROUTE TO 13% GROWTH IN BUS USE IN MERSEYSIDE
IMPROVEMENTS to bus services in
Merseyside through partnerships between operators and transport
authorities could boost bus use by 13%, cut congestion and improve
the local environment, according to a major new report by the
Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).
The figure is revealed in Moving Forward – New Opportunities, New
Passengers which reveals the potential for 14 million extra bus
passenger journeys in Merseyside per year resulting in 1.8 million
fewer journeys by car and an annual CO2 emissions reduction of 3,000
tonnes – it would take 15,000 trees 100 years to erase this amount
of carbon dioxide from the environment.
In the report there is overwhelming evidence that significant
improvements can be achieved through a partnership approach rather
than organisations working in isolation. It reveals that by
increasing the frequency of buses, decreasing bus journey times
through reduced congestion, improving service punctuality and
reliability and improving passenger waiting areas will increase
passenger numbers by 13% in Merseyside.
Simon Posner, Chief Executive, Confederation of Passenger Transport
said:- “A successful, attractive and high quality bus service
can have a measurable impact on an individuals life. This report
illustrates what can be achieved through successful partnerships
between bus companies and local authorities. We must replicate these
successes from across the country in Merseyside if we are to provide
an efficient and economical transport option and lesson the burden
on our roads and the environment. Punctual, reliable and
frequent services continue to be passengers’ top priorities. Buses
play a vital role in Merseyside, providing mobility for people that
live, work and study in the area. We need to ensure that bus
services are meeting the needs of all these groups of people.
Bus operators and local
authorities are most successful when they play to their strengths.
Operators have an entrepreneurial spirit and expertise in product
development, pricing and marketing and local authorities have skills
in management of their public assets and infrastructure. When these
are combined, our bus services succeed in putting passengers first,
meeting the aspirations of the Local Transport Bill, which was
introduced in Parliament last week."
The report comes just weeks after the Department for Transport
unveiled its ‘Towards a Sustainable Transport System’, a new
framework which promises to deliver a low carbon transport system to
support the economy and reduce carbon emissions.
Moving Forward - New Opportunities, New Passengers, can be
downloaded in full from