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Netherlands: Possible law to register ethnic origin & religion of gun owners

I’d like to begin this text to point out that TFB is purely trying to report the facts about gun laws around the World, not the politics, politicians or parties behind. Please bear this in mind when reading and commenting. Dutch is not our first language, but we have tried our best to get the story accurate with the online translating tools at our disposal.

Background

In The Netherlands, a Bill is being discussed, as it suggests that anyone who applies for or renews a firearms license also has to register their racial or ethnical origin.

Political views and religion or philosophical conviction would also be recorded. The privacy-sensitive data should, according to the bill, be kept for thirty years.

Magpul PMAG taking a swim in empty 22LR casings.

It is said that this new law is needed to streamline the National legislation with the European Union’s Firearms Directive.

The law that would regulate this has come up against some major objections from privacy protectors and a large part of the Lower House, also within the Government coalition.

Minister of Justice Mr. Grapperhaus and Minister of Agriculture and Nature Mrs. Schouten said in the explanatory notes to the law that The risk factors for firearms possession are diverse. That is why the police, where a gun license must be requested, need information ‘from various sources’ to weigh up ‘whether it is safe to allow someone to hold a weapon‘.

Royal Dutch Shooting Sports Association & Personal Data Authority object

The Royal Dutch Shooting Sports Association (KNSA) and The Dutch Personal Data Authority strongly reject the new requirements.

Mr. Sander Duisterhof, the Director of the KNSA shooting club believes that the intended registration ‘can have a discriminating and stigmatizing effect‘. Those who want to join a shooting club must first submit a Declaration of Behavior. Those who want to use their own firearm for target shooting must apply for a permit from the Police (formally the Police chief). This also applies to hunters.

Statistically, there are hardly any incidents with legal firearms in The Netherlands.

News from NU.nl below. Auto-translated.

‘Police need to be able to check out the origin and philosophy of life of gun owners’

In the future, the police may also ask an applicant for a weapons license for privacy-sensitive matters such as race, ethnic origin, religion and political opinion. The bill in which this stands is faced with major objections from privacy organizations and part of the House of Representatives.

The amendment of a bill on this subject will be dealt with in the House of Representatives next month, writes De Volkskrant.

The bill comes after the European guidelines for gun ownership have been tightened after the Paris attacks in 2015. Weapons should be more traceable throughout the European Union and illegal possession of weapons should be dealt with more forcefully.

According to ministers Ferd Grapperhaus of Justice and Carola Schouten van Natuur, “risk factors for weapon possession are diverse”. The police would need information “from different sources” to weigh up whether the possession of weapons would result in risks.

That is why the ministers want to ensure that the ethnic origin or religion of every gun owner is registered. This also includes political or philosophical convictions.
‘We must not exceed this privacy limit’

Coalition parties CDA and D66 do not see the proposal, as do the Dutch Data Protection Authority and the Royal Dutch Shooting Sports Association (KNSA).

“We must not exceed this privacy limit,” says D66 MP Monica den Boer against de Volkskrant. “According to the minimum requirements of the European directive, it is not necessary at all, we do not discriminate against and ethnically profile, so these special personal details have to be removed from the bill.”

The Ministry of Justice and Security does not want to say whether the minister continues the plans.

Sources: NU.nl and De Volkskrant and Royal Dutch Shooting Sports Association (KNSA)

European Commission – Fact Sheet Firearms Directive

Wikipedia: “The European Firearms Directive is a law of the European Union which sets minimum standards regarding civilian firearms acquisition and possession that EU Member States must implement into their national legal systems. The Member States are free to adopt more stringent rules, which leads to differences in the extent of citizens’ legal access to firearms within different EU countries.”

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