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France
Source
: National report on the implementation of the updated PoA measures relating to the ITI, 2010 
Date
: 06/05/2011
National Report
: 2010
 
Contact
: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Strategic, Security and Disarmament Directorate
Email
: Patrick.lemenes@diplomatie.gouv.fr
 
 
 
 


National laws, regulations and administrative procedures:

Ordinance 2004-1374 of 20 December 2004 relating to the legislative part of the Defence Code, which repealed the Decree-Law of 19 April 1939 establishing a regime for war materials, arms and munitions and incorporated its provisions, on the basis of established law, into Part II, Book III, Title III of the Defence Code. Decree 95-589 of 6 May 1995 relating to application of the Decree of 18 April 1939 establishing a regime for war materials, arms and munitions. Directive 91/477/EEC of the Council on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons, as amended by Directive 2008/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008. France is party to the Convention for the Reciprocal Recognition of Proof Marks on Small Arms of 1 July 1969 (CIP Convention), published by Decree 71-807 of 20 September 1971.

 

 
 
 


National Marking Practices:

France, as a State party to the CIP, implements decisions taken at plenary sessions and transposes them into domestic law. Thus, Decree 2003-650 of 9 July 2003 stipulates testing instructions and preliminary technical measures, including the marking of arms (Article 4). Under Article L. 2339-11 of the Defence Code, use of a proof mark by a non-qualified person is punishable by a fine of €3,750 and two years’ imprisonment. Counterfeiting a proof mark or export proof mark or fraudulently using counterfeit proof marks are punishable by a fine of €3,750 and five years’ imprisonment. Decree 60-12 of 12 January 1960 stipulates that the sale in or introduction into France of a weapon that has not been tested in a State party to the CIP is a criminal offence. Article L. 2335-3 of the Defence Code also states that all barrels of military firearms intended for foreign trade must be tested, evidenced by the application of a proof mark. Such barrels are also given an export proof mark. In order to comply with the new provisions of Directive 91/477/EC as amended, a draft decree currently being prepared will stipulate how firearms are to be marked on manufacture (manufacturer’s name, country or place of manufacture, year of manufacture, model, calibre and serial number). It will also define the marking requirement for firearms belonging to the State if they are sold. Marking requirements for weapons intended for the armed forces are stipulated in the contract and verified by the relevant unit of the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (Weapons Procurement Agency, DGA). Registration requirements are stipulated in Instruction 20812 of 21 May 2001 of the Direction Centrale du Matériel de l’Armée de Terre (Central Directorate of Equipment of the Army).

Marking at the time of import:

Marking of SALW in the possession of government armed and security forces:


Measures against the removal or alteration of markings:

A bill relating to the establishment of a modern, simplified and preventive firearms control system has been adopted by the National Assembly and is currently being considered by the Senate. Proposed measures include a fine of €75,000 and five years’ imprisonment for fraudulently removing, masking, altering or otherwise modifying markings, proof marks, serial numbers, emblems or signs of any kind affixed to or incorporated into equipment mentioned in Article L. 2331-1, weapons or their essential components in order to obtain a certain guarantee of their identification under the terms and conditions determined by a Conseil d’Etat decree, or knowingly possessing a weapon thus modified (Article 31 Art. L. 2339-8-1)

 
 
 


Accurate and comprehensive records for all marked SALW within their territory:

The European firearms pass certifies that the firearms registered on it are held lawfully in the country where the pass was issued (Order of 6 May 1998). Holders of such a pass are exempt from regular customs obligations for the firearms on the pass. The pass may be used only for a hunting invitation or target shooting competition in Europe. Passes are issued by prefectures in France and registered in the AGRIPPA database of owners and possessors of firearms. The AGRIPPA database was created by the order of 15 November 2007 as amended by the order of 24 March 2009. Its purpose is to register and track licences and receipts of declarations issued by the administrative authorities relating to the regime for Category 1 and 4 war materials, arms and munitions and Category 5 and 7 arms and components of arms subject to a declaration requirement (European Categories B and C). Information about the holder of arms, components of arms and munitions may be kept for twenty years, either from the date on which the person concerned ceased to be in possession of the material for reasons other than loss or theft, or from the date on which the loss or theft was declared. The data may be accessed only by individually designated and specially authorised officials. The prefectoral authorities register declarations of the opening of premises where arms are manufactured or sold. The Defence Ministry issues licences for the manufacture, trading or intermediation of arms and materials in the first four categories. If a licence is withdrawn, items still in the holder’s possession must be disposed of or destroyed within three months. Operations relating to the manufacture, repair, conversion, purchase, sale, hiring out or destruction of arms and intermediation operations are recorded in a special register determined by a joint order of the Defence and Interior Ministries. Special registers kept by the holders of manufacturing or trading licences and the registers of other dealers must be filled in and kept for the entire duration of the business activity. On cessation, the registers must be handed in at the police or gendarmerie station with territorial competence. Likewise, special registers concerning firms that conduct brokerage or intermediation business must be handed in to the Defence Ministry. The Defence Ministry also keeps records of all licences issued by the State relating to the manufacture, import, export (prior authorisations and export licences for war materials), brokerage and destruction of arms (the records are digitalised under an order of 15 January 2003). The records are kept by the weapons records centre for an unlimited time.

 
 
 


Measures taken for undertaking traces and responding to tracing requests
:

With AGRIPPA, arms held lawfully in France (by virtue of a licence or a declaration) and their owner can be traced. Arms that are reported lost or stolen or that are the object of particular attention are registered by the police and gendarmerie. France automatically enters this information into the Schengen objects database, which is directly accessible to all partner countries, and can also enter it into the European IS (Information System) database. The Office central de lutte contre le crime organisé (Central Office for Combating Organised Crime, OCLCO) is the Interpol-France national clearing-house for matters involving trafficking in arms, explosives and sensitive materials. Exchanges of information are constantly taking place. In France, information passes through the Europol National Unit within the Criminal Police Central Directorate (DCPJ), which represents all branches (police, gendarmerie, customs) with regard to Europol. CIP proof marks also identify the proof house that carried out the test. A weapon can be traced by asking the proof house for the identity of the company or person that commissioned the test on arrival in a Member State.

Operational Informaton Exchange:

Needs and Request for Assistance::

Implementation challenges and opportunities:

France has participated in the group of national experts under Council Directive No. 91/477/CEE of 18 June 1991 relating to the acquisition and possession of weapons. The work in progress, led by the Commission resulted in the revision of the Directive to include the provisions of the UN Firearms Protocol 2001, in particular those related to marking and registration of arms. France also drafted a best practice guide on the marking, record-keeping and traceability of small arms and light weapons for the OSCE. France actively participated in the promotion of the ICI in the context of awareness-raising seminars funded by the EU in 2007 and 2008 (Togo, Republic of Korea and Brazil).