With the amendments to the Weapons Act, passed by the parliament on Wednesday, the weapons permits of some 1,300 citizens of non-EU and non-NATO countries will be declared invalid in Estonia and the issuance of such permits will be discontinued.
Estonia to declare some 1,300 people's weapons permits invalid
Minister of the Interior Lauri Laanemets said that Estonia needs to prevent a situation where a foreign national residing in Estonia and holding a weapons permit is forced and able to take up arms against the Estonian state due to their citizenship and duty of loyalty.
«This measure is necessary in the current security situation to preemptively mitigate any risks to our internal security and public order. The citizens of foreign states that are hostile to Estonia cannot be permitted to carry on holding a weapons permit and owning a weapon here,» the minister said.
Approximately 1,300 Russian and Belarusian nationals and people with undetermined citizenship hold a weapons permit in Estonia. They own altogether slightly over 3,000 weapons. The issuance of new permits will be discontinued upon the amendments' entry into effect.
Anneli Annist from the bureau of prevention and criminal procedure of the Police and Border Guard Board said that the amendments also update the list of criminal offenses precluding the granting of a weapons permit to an individual, such as manslaughter, murder, a criminal offense committed with a firearm and offenses jeopardizing national security.