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Fight against firearms trafficking

Firearms are the lifeblood of organised crime in Europe as well as worldwide. Firearms trafficking is a big enabler of organised crime and terrorism. It is a high-time to fix a new agenda by:

1) analysing possibilities for safeguarding the legal market and preventing diversion, notably by developing technological solutions for addressing new threats such as 3D printed firearms, including distribution of blueprints for 3D printing of firearms, clamping of 3D printing machines and of blueprints, and their sale both offline and online (including darknet);

2) improving the intelligence picture in firearms trafficking, in particular by developing technological solutions to enable simultaneous searches/input in the Schengen Information System and Interpol’s iArms database, developing solutions to facilitate and approximate a systematic collection on data on all firearms seizures, and developing a European-level tool tracking in real-time all firearms-related incidents or shootings and extracting continuously updated data;

3) increasing knowledge on the legal limitations and room for improvement in police and judicial cooperation in the field of firearms trafficking, developing tools to enable automated cross-border exchange of ballistics information, and exploring how new and emerging approaches (such as, but not limited to, Artificial Intelligence) could help improve automated detection of firearms and firearms components through scanning of parcels and containers;

4) improving international cooperation by supporting operational cooperation between the Police Authorities and other relevant security practitioners of the EU and of third countries.

Activities proposed within this topic should address both technological and societal dimensions of the firearms trafficking. Connections with other forms of crime should be tackled too. The international dimension should be analysed as well, including but not limited to the firearms smuggling processes. Thus, both Police and Border Guards/Customs Authorities should be involved in the consortia, in order to tackle effectively all aspects of this crime. Coordination with successful proposals under topic HORIZON-CL3-2021-FCT-01-08, HORIZON-CL3-2021-FCT-01-09, HORIZON-CL3-2022-FCT-01-05, HORIZON-CL3-2022-FCT-01-06 and HORIZON-CL3-2022-FCT-01-07 should be envisaged so as to avoid duplication and to exploit complementarities as well as opportunities for increased impact. Proposed activities that could also link with security research for border management (for example, border checks or detection of concealed objects) would be an asset. If relevant, the proposed activities should attempt to complement the objectives and activities of the EU Policy Cycle (EMPACT) – Firearms. Due to the specific scope of this topic, in order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is encouraged. The testing and/or piloting of the tools and solutions developed in a real setting with one or more Police Authorities and other relevant authorities is an asset; regardless, actions should plan to facilitate the uptake, replication across setting and up-scaling of the capabilities - i.e. solutions, tools, processes et al. – to be developed by the project.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content should be addressed only if the consortium deems it relevant in relation to the objectives of the research effort.