Frontex supports European and international authorities combat firearms smuggling

Arms smuggling is a criminal threat affecting law enforcement officers around the world. Frontex has published a new international version of the Handbook on Firearms for Border Guards and Customs Officers to help national authorities fight against this crime and protect their citizens. 

As the current conflict in Ukraine may have a long-term impact on weapons proliferation in Europe and beyond, it is important to treat the trafficking of illicit firearms as one of the key law enforcement priorities. The international version of the firearms handbook, which builds on the EU edition published last year, puts together the recent developments and best practices existing on both European and international levels to support national border and customs authorities in both EU and non-EU countries to reinforce their operational response against arms-related crime. 

The handbook contains the latest information on firearms, their parts and ammunition, associated documentation, and the phenomenon of firearm trafficking itself. It also provides guidelines for border control and further handling of seized weapons.  


The publication is a result of joint work with national, European, and international partners. The creation of the handbook was supported and guided by DG HOME and DG TAXUD of the European Commission and co-led by the European Firearms Expert Group. Other European and international organisations involved include Interpol, UNODC, Europol, WCO, SEESAC, OSCE, Europe-Latin America Programme of Assistance against Transnational Organised Crime, Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community, and the European Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM). The authorities of Poland, Romania, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Colombia, and Ukraine also took actively part in the initiative.  

The handbook was developed under the umbrella of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) Firearms driven by Spain. It brings together police and law enforcement authorities of EU Member States, European agencies, and international organisations to jointly strengthen Europe’s borders and internal security.