I'll come a bit out of the closet and relate a first hand experience. This specifically related to two EU countries ( you'll forgive me if I don't specifically mention them) I was crewing
on a delivery
of a big yacht. ( 70 feet) she carried ( I didn't know this at the start) a small gun locker and in it was a semi automatic shotgun and solid slugs.
There was an active debate over the declare or not to declare. I made the point that, due to our registration
, it's was likely that we could be inspected. In the two countries we visited both had " firearms to be declared" laws. ( we were inspected in one of them)( and drugs inspected in territorial waters)
In the first country. We informed the Marina we were staying in. They were a bit Upset ( never found out whether it was that we had it or that we told them we had it) , since we were all EU citizens, most marinas
now have no facilities to perform immigration or customs
. We were directed to the nearest commercial
port. ( this was about 5 miles away and again we didn't know how the firearm should be transported to this location( the rules said declare and present the firearm). We decided that it would be impossible to just put it in a taxi with us
We then just went ourselves to the port. There we declared the firearm ( we also had the required European Firearm passport). After much discussion and talking to superiors they decided to " impound" the firearm until we left. The fact that the shotgun was semi-automatic was a factor in their thinking.
Then the issue of how to get it to them after much ado they agreed to bring us back by police car and then they took the firearm.
Essentially the same thing happened in reverse except the bill was about 100 euros for three days ( including the collection fee!!)
All in all the declaration , delivery
and collection took up 8 hours.
In the second country. There's was a rerun, except here the customs
( for yachts as the port will not deal with non commercial
immigration) was in the nearby major town ( nearby being 10 miles).
When we appeared there expecting as before the same procedure we had loads more hassle. The guy there had a real problem with the semi auto and particulary the solid slugs.( lots of questions 're why we were needed a firearm onboard ) He also said they had no facilities to store firearms nor has the local police. It turned out that the store was maintained by the army 50 miles away. Talk turned to the use of a registered firearms courier etc. ( I think 500 euros) anyway after much discussion they agreed to transport it to their offices ( it cost but I can't remember how much) and then to arrange collection by the army. It turned out the army needed 3 days notice each way. It was also pointed out that this firearm was technically illegal and could be confiscated.
In the end we never sought it back and left the port.
I just illustrate this to show that " firearms must be declared" is a rather oversimplification of the process. In most EU countries yachts no longer enter via commercial ports
and facilities to handle this sort of thing simply don't exist.
I've said this to Gord before as regards his list my experience in some of the EU countries is very different from what his list said. His list is based on the " import" of firearms into those countries, but in most cases if you arrive by boat you are not importing them, merely declaring them and following the resulting rules.
For example despite gords list. EU citizens can relatively easily move their own firearms around the EU. Note that relatively is just that, you need a EU firearms passport. A checkout document when leaving your own country and often ( especially Germany) permission from the arriving countries police , then you can keep the firearm in your possession. Of course setting this up...,
Also there is a world of difference depending on the type of firearm involved. Simple small calibre bolt action rifles ( rimfire) and double barrelled shotguns are the easiest to handle , handguns are usually the most difficult and are often completely illegal , with semis and assault looking firearms up there as well . There is a very high chance that a firearm deemed illegal will be confiscated. ( as happened to an American cruiser in german waters recently )
My experience is that the reason is there so few first hand experiences is that few are doing it.