[JURIST] European Union (EU) [official website] lawmakers adopted a legislative report [press release] Thursday to tighten gun control laws and establish an extensive firearms database. The new rules are the result of 18 months of negotiations between the European Parliament [official website], national governments and gun advocates. The rules would prohibit anyone under 18 from buying a gun with the exception of minors involved in hunting or target shooting. Those over 18 will be barred from purchasing guns only if they are deemed a threat to public safety. The rules require that each member state set up a computerized database by 2014 to ensure that all firearms are traceable to their owners. This data will be stored for 20 years and be accessible by police and judicial officials.
A deadly school shooting in Finland [BBC report] earlier this month has made many see a need for increased gun control [JURIST news archive] in the European Union, which does not have consistent gun laws between its 27 members. The new rules still need to be approved by member states and, if passed, would go into effect in January 2008. EU justice ministers are expected to hold discussion about the rules next week in Brussels. Deutsche Welle has more. IHT has additional coverage.