On 26 May, the Flemish Peace Institute published a report on the Project which focuses on 3 specific diversion methods; theft, fraud and non-regularisation. Available online is the Part devoted to theft. The Project is a research project, funded by the EU Internal Security Fund — Police, which focuses on the diversion of live-firing firearms from the legal domain into the illicit sphere within the EU. It argues that theft is an important diversion method in the EU and statistical evidence shows that large quantities of firearms are diverted through theft each year. The analysis suggests annually between 20,000 to 25,000 firearms are registered as stolen in the EU and says one can expect a rather high number of stolen firearms which are either not noticed or not declared to the authorities. The analysis further demonstrates significant national differences exist in the number of registered stolen firearms. These differences tend to reflect differences in the level of legal firearms holdings, but also other contextual factors such as the dynamics of illicit gun markets seem to play a role. In addition, the number of firearms thefts seems to be decreasing in most Member States. Private individuals are most often targeted in the EU. Perhaps surprisingly, the report says that in most Member States stolen firearms are not the primary types of firearms possessed in the criminal underworld.
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