Brussels Has Further Restricted Gun Rights in the E.U.

The European Union (E.U.) recently took drastic measures to further restrict gun ownership throughout its 28 member states.

E.U. interior ministers decided on June 10th to tighten current gun control laws in place—a move viewed negatively by several member states. If ratified by the European Parliament, this proposal will include an EU-wide regime on deactivated firearms—a move slated to harm collectors and hunters. They argue this proposal will make it easier to track illegal guns and discourage people from purchasing semi-automatic firearms, citing their use in the two terror attacks. However, several member states have serious doubts about proposed rule changes.

The E.U. already forbids most fully automatic firearms, along with several popular semi-automatic firearms enjoyed by many here in the United States. How will imposing greater restrictions on semi-automatic firearms make Europe safer if current gun control laws in place have failed to deter terrorists in Paris and Brussels?

Not all E.U. member states plan to comply with this directive.

Members states like Czech Republic and Poland have taken issue with this directive. Finland and Switzerland have also expressed doubts in the proposed legislation. Unlike other member states comprising the E.U., these countries have more liberalized, pro-gun laws. Moreover, these countries have less overall crime in their respective societies thanks to the presence of pro-gun laws in spite of current E.U.-wide restrictions.

Here were proposed gun control measures the E.U. had deliberated earlier this year in wake of the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks, according to CNN:

1. More categories of semi-automatic weapons will be subject to an outright ban. The new ban will apply to “B7” weapons, or “semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms.” EU countries will still be able to issue licenses for some semi-automatic rifles for hunting, collecting and museums.

2. Deactivated weapons are currently treated as pieces of metal that can be traded freely across European borders. That will no longer be possible. “Under no circumstances will civilians be authorized to own any of the most dangerous firearms (e.g. a Kalashnikov), which is currently possible if they have been deactivated,” the proposal states.

3. Gun brokers and dealers will have to be licensed to deal in weapons. Collectors will have to get a license and face background checks even if they only own deactivated weapons. There will also be new limits on the ability to buy gun parts and ammunition online.

4. Tracing guns should become easier thanks to enhanced rules on how guns must be marked and registered. And blank firing weapons will be regulated for the first time because they can be converted to fire live ammunition.

Other E.U. member states have also expressed interest in extending firearms privileges and rights to members of the military—a move expected to be challenged by the E.U.

The Baltic Republic of Lithuania, which was the first country to declare its independence from the Soviet Union, is looking to allow its military volunteers to private own semi-automatic firearms at home. Both Lithuania’s parliament, Seimas, and military personnel have expressed their desire to allow military volunteers to privately own semi-automatic firearms—especially in wake of Russia trying to reassert itself in the Eastern Bloc.

Looking to the United States as an example, the European Union should permit greater gun rights—not fewer gun rights. Why should Brussels dictate gun rights for 28 vastly different countries? Individual member states should be able to allow gun rights in their respective countries based on need, not based on Brussels’ desires for disarmament.

As opposition to banning AR-15 semi-automatic rifles is mounting here in the U.S. following the Orlando terrorist attack, opposition to further gun control measures should equally be met in the European Union.  It’ll be interesting to see if Thursday’s Brexit vote will propel more E.U. member states to reconsider their membership–especially if the E.U. decides to further encroach on limited gun rights that remain in the region.

Former Soviet Republic Wants Military Volunteers to Privately Own Firearms

The Baltic Republic of Lithuania, which was the first country to declare independence from the Soviet Union, is considering a move to allow paramilitary volunteers to privately keep firearms at home. The Seimas–Lithuania’s parliament–wants members of the Lithuania Rifleman’s Union and National Defense Volunteer Forces to acquire and keep semi-automatic firearms at home.

A spokesperson for the Rifleman’s Union said this: “We could expand the deterrence potential. The potential enemy will be discouraged, because they would not know how many citizens are armed and able to resist. This will take off some burden from the state and strengthen national defence potential.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. In October 2014, more private citizens in the Baltic nation were purchasing firearms for self-defense in wake of threats from Putin’s Russia:

People in the country currently own over 100,000 various pistols, revolvers and different shotguns. Some of them are highly spectacular guns that can be used for more than just self-defence, sports or hunting, but also for a guerrilla war.

Here are the conditions for obtaining firearms in Lithuania, per the 2002 Law on Control of Weapons and Ammunition Act: 

1. Permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania and legal persons registered in the Republic of Lithuania may acquire and keep weapons, ammunition for the following purposes:

1) hunting;
2) sports;
3) self-defence;
4) professional activities;
5) collection;
6) training;
7) scientific research;
8) other purposes, if they are in conformity with laws and international agreements and treaties.

2. Permanent residents of the Republic of Lithuania and legal persons registered in the Republic of Lithuania shall have the right to acquire ammunition for weapons which they are entitled to possess.

Since Lithuania, like other European Union member states, is at the behest of Brussels, this move to allow private ownership of firearms for military volunteers may get shot down. The E.U. currently boasts some of the world’s most restrictive, Draconian guns laws–making it virtually impossible for individuals to keep and bear arms without going through hurdles to legally obtain them.

The European Union had mulled over more gun control restrictions despite recent terrorist attacks that have befallen the region. Here were their recent proposed gun control amendments:

1. More categories of semi-automatic weapons will be subject to an outright ban. The new ban will apply to “B7” weapons, or “semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms.” EU countries will still be able to issue licenses for some semi-automatic rifles for hunting, collecting and museums.

2. Deactivated weapons are currently treated as pieces of metal that can be traded freely across European borders. That will no longer be possible. “Under no circumstances will civilians be authorized to own any of the most dangerous firearms (e.g. a Kalashnikov), which is currently possible if they have been deactivated,” the proposal states.

3. Gun brokers and dealers will have to be licensed to deal in weapons. Collectors will have to get a license and face background checks even if they only own deactivated weapons. There will also be new limits on the ability to buy gun parts and ammunition online.

4. Tracing guns should become easier thanks to enhanced rules on how guns must be marked and registered. And blank firing weapons will be regulated for the first time because they can be converted to fire live ammunition.

If Lithuania’s parliament votes this in and the E.U. doesn’t interfere, Lithuania will become a safer place thanks to the presence of private firearms.

As demonstrated here in the U.S., the presence of more firearms in the hands of good people leads to fewer bad people committing crime with guns. If it works in the U.S., it can certainly work in Europe. Let’s hope the E.U. realizes it shouldn’t deprive individuals of their gun rights.

The Baltics Boldly Defied the Kremlin to Achieve Their Independence

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has suggested the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are “ungrateful” to the Kremlin for allowing them to peacefully break away in the early 1990’s.

Lavrov told  the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter his thoughts on the subject, but specifically called out Lithuania- my ancestral homeland-as the most “most aggressive, Russo-phobic country” by accusing it pushing NATO in an “anti-Russian direction”, the AP reports.

“They joined NATO but there was no calm, especially not with our Lithuanian neighbor,” Lavrov was quoted.

 Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius responded to Lavrov’s comments and suggested they were “pure propaganda.”

The Kremlin ALLOWED the Baltics to break away? Unless my parents and relatives lied to me about our ancestral homeland achieving independence–which they haven’t–there’s no proof or indication that the Kremlin under Soviet control permitted this. Their grip on Lithuania and 14 other countries was anything but sweet.

For decades, Soviet-controlled Russia demeaned Lithuanians as “fascists” for not going along with Soviet policies, as they did with other people they oppressed. The USSR was doomed to collapse given its evil ideology, various human rights abuses, and unsustainable anti-growth policies. The Baltics valiantly broke away from the USSR in 1990-1991, with Lithuania first taking the plunge on March 11, 1990. Several million people across all three Baltic nations held a peaceful yet effective protest called the Baltic Way prior to the Berlin Wall falling to signal their desire for freedom. Countless people died fighting to achieve independence in the process–independence the Kremlin was reluctant to cede them.

Lavrov’s comments shouldn’t comes as a surprise. Russian president Vladimir Putin–a former KGB officer–has been on record as lamenting the physical demise of the Soviet Union. Additionally, he has been trying to reconstitute former occupied republics through a “Eurasian Union” to counter the European Union (another flawed entity to be discussed in a future article). Additionally, Russia has tried to reassert itself in Eastern Europe with its efforts to recapture Georgia in 2008 and most recently its illegal annexation of Crimea from eastern Ukraine in 2014.

Who will stand up to Russia in the coming year? Certainly not Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump. Clinton orchestrated the Russian “reset” in 2012, and Trump has deeply questionable ties to the Putin oligarchy.

Mitt Romney was a deeply flawed and ineffective presidential nominee but was right on one thing: Russia is our biggest geo-political threat. Plus, the rise of Neo-Sovietism there is quite disquieting.

Russia is bound to flex its muscles in Eastern Europe again with its continual threats–particularly recent ones directed at the Baltics. Does this mean going to war with Russia? No–not in the slightly. This problem can be addressed if a level-headed, pro-freedom presidential candidate emerges as the victor this fall. We shall see…

If You Despise the Left’s Authoritarianism, You Should Also Hate It From Trump

At last night’s CNN Republican Presidential Debate moderated by Jake Tapper, Donald J. Trump affirmed he likes to emulate “strength” even if it’s authoritarian in nature.

Below is the full exchange between Tapper and Trump:

Although Trump claims he doesn’t endorse authoritarianism, he downplayed the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre last night by calling it a “riot” stopped by a “strong” Chinese government and said he approved of the “strong” message contained in the Benito Mussolini quote he retweeted.

Trump’s flirtation with authoritarianism is nothing new. In a 1990 interview with Playboy Magazine, Trump suggested the Chinese government demonstrated the “power of strength” for quashing dissent from pro-freedom Chinese students on June 4th, 1989:

When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world–

Most recently, he thanked former KGB agent and current Russian president Vladimir Putin for complimenting him as “bright and talented without any doubt” back in December.  And just last month, Trump suggested he would “open up our libel laws” to suppress speech and writings that are critical of him.

If this quasi-tyrannical behavior from Trump doesn’t scare you, it now should.

Why are people excusing the presumptive GOP frontrunner’s bully tactics and mercurial Jekyll-Hyde tendencies if they despise this behavior from the Left?  They resent Obama’s divisive rhetoric and mean-spirited ways, but unapologetically stand by Trump no matter the discordant thoughts he utters or the disparaging insults he delivers.

Mr. Flexible pledges to “Make America Great Again” on the pretext of empty promises and building magical things. It doesn’t matter if Trump resorts to ad hominem attacks or if his staffer beats up a female reporter. In the eyes of his supporters, the thrice-married Mr. Trump is perfect. Dare to challenge Il Trumpo? You’re not loyal to this country!

We already saw this blind idol worship of presidential candidates during the 2008 campaign election cycle. Like Obama, Trump won’t save us or make this country better–only the American people can. If Trump isn’t stopped by someone like Ted Cruz, I’m afraid we’re doomed with either him or the Margaret Sanger-loving Alinskyite this November.

As I write this, today marks the 26th anniversary of my ancestral homeland, Lithuania, formally declaring its independence from the Soviet Union. It was the first occupied country in Eastern Europe to boldly stick it to the communists. The desire for freedom soon reverberated throughout the world–helping to usher in the USSR’s demise. It was a beautiful testament to freedom triumphing over evil. More than a quarter of a century later, sadly, the re-emergence of authoritarian ideas has creeped into American politics by way of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. Alas, it appears that many of our fellow Americans have not learned from history.

Don’t be bamboozled by Trump’s “strength” and tough talk. Authoritarianism–whether in the form of fascism, socialism, or Marxism–is antithetical to our way of life. If you hate authoritarianism from the Left, you should hate it from Trump too.