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A (Circulation d’armes à feu neutralisées)

On 24 November 2022, the Third Chamber of the Court of Justice delivered a preliminary ruling in the context of proceedings brought by A, concerning the decision of the Helsingin poliisilaitos (Helsinki Police, Finland) to refuse to recognise the firearm deactivation certificates issued in Austria and presented when those weapons were transferred to Finland. The Korkein hallinto-oikeus (Supreme Administrative Court) decided to stay the proceedings and to refer the following questions to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling: under Directive 91/477/EEC, can a verifying entity which has been confirmed by a national authority and has issued a deactivation certificate be regarded as an entity within the meaning of the directive even though it is not included in the list published by the Commission, where various authorities of that Member State have notified the transferor of the weapons that the verifying entity, operating in the legal form of a limited liability company, which issued the certificate is authorised to do so under that regulation? Can a verifying entity designated by a Member State for the purposes of the deactivation of weapons also be validated by means of other evidence obtained from a national authority instead of by means of inclusion in the list published on the Commission’s website within the meaning of Article 3(3) of Implementing Regulation 2015/2403, such that a deactivation certificate issued by that verifying entity meets the requirements laid down in that regulation to the effect that a Member State must recognise a deactivation certificate issued in another Member State in accordance with Article 7(2) of Implementing Regulation 2015/2403?’ The Court held that Directive 91/477 must be interpreted as not precluding a legal person governed by private law, such as a commercial company, from coming within the concept of ‘verifying entity’, referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 3 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2403, where that person appears on the list published by the European Commission pursuant to Article 3(3) of that implementing regulation. It also held that such a directive must be interpreted as meaning that, where a deactivation certificate for a firearm is issued by a verifying entity, the Member State to which the deactivated firearm is transferred is required to recognise that certificate, unless the competent authorities of that Member State find, during a summary examination of the weapon in question, that that certificate clearly does not satisfy the requirements laid down in that implementing regulation.

Case Number C-296/21

Name of the parties A

Date of the judgement 2022-11-24

Court Court of Justice of the European Union (Third Chamber)