The fight against illicit firearm proliferation and misuse in the EU and its regional neighbours is a multifaceted challenge. This challenge encompasses the diversion of arms from national stocks and actors; trafficking from inside and outside the region; the illicit manufacture or transfer of parts, components, accessories, and ammunition; and the conversion of alarm, signal, acoustic, and air guns. The EU Firearms Directive (CoEU and European Parliament, 2021) establishes minimum standards for civilian firearm registry elements within the EU to develop common measures, set the conditions for harmonisation, and facilitate information exchange between national registries. Since the EU Firearms Directive requirements are procedural rather than technical, the way member states implement their civilian firearm registry measures also varies.
Hence why, this report aims to inform possible improvements on information exchange, as well as effective and innovative practices both at the sub-national level – where licensing typically occurs – and the national and international levels.