Tighter weapons law wins commission backing
18 May 2006, BRUSSELS — The Belgian Parliament's justice commission unanimously backed on Thursday the new weapons law aimed at tightening existing regulations.
18 May 2006
BRUSSELS — The Belgian Parliament's justice commission unanimously backed on Thursday the new weapons law aimed at tightening existing regulations.
The proposed legislation will amend the 1993 law and obligate all gun buyers in future to be in possession of a licence before being allowed to buy a gun.
Currently, sports and hunting guns can be bought over-the-counter by any adult with proof of identity. The buyer's details are simply noted and passed onto police.
But in future, potential gun owners will undergo a police screening. Police will speak with the buyer, family and neighbours to ascertain whether he or she will pose a threat to public safety.
"Whoever applies for a gun licence must take into account that he will lose privacy,' police commissioner Dirk Van Nuffel said.
"The police officer or the weapons register official will come into the home of the person and examine where and how a weapon will be stored."
Once a licence is granted, it will only be valid for five years.
The proposed legislation will also result in the establishment of a new centralised weapons registry.
Belgian Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx lodged the legislation some time ago, but its passage through parliament has been accelerated in response to the Antwerp double-murder last week.
Following the justice commission's approval of the proposed legislation on Thursday, the Lower House of Parliament will also debate the text and a vote is expected later on Thursday.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news