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Weapons permit validity specifications during the emergency situation

22. April 2020 - 15:36

Riigikogu passed an act which, among other things, will extend the period of validity of weapons permits and firearms use-related permits for people whose permits will expire during the emergency situation.

“The activities of individuals as well as public institutions are restricted during the emergency situation, and thus it may happen that the period of validity or weapons permits will expire and the renewal is not possible. The same applies to the medical certificate required for holding and extending the permit,” the Minister of the Interior Mart Helme explained. “Thus, in order to avoid putting people at a disadvantage, we must have an exception for the term of validity of weapons permits. It also applies to the extension of the medical certificate, as appointments with the family doctor or a specialist doctor may be temporarily restricted,” the minister added.

The act calls for the extension of the validity of weapons permits, collection permits, parallel weapons permits and permits to carry a weapon as well as all activity permits issued under the Weapons Act for the duration of the emergency situation and an additional 60 days after its termination.

The exception will be valid up to 60 days following the end of the emergency situation. The given period is required in order to provide people applying for the extension with a reasonable amount of time to submit their applications and also to obtain a medical certificate after the conclusion of the emergency situation. It will also allow the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) to return gradually to their regular work patterns.

The amendment will apply only to those weapon owners who have previously been verified by PPA, passed exams and been granted the right to handle weapons. PPA will continue to conduct their supervision and in case it transpires that the individuals have committed an offence precluding them from the right to handle weapons, the respective reaction will be pursuant to the normal procedures.

Also the extension of activity permits may be rendered impossible due to the emergency situation. For the given reason, the act stipulates that activity permits due to expire during the emergency situation will have their validity extended for the duration of the emergency situation and 60 days following its conclusion.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, it is important to avoid the situation in which a legal person's activity permit expires for reasons beyond their control. In such cases, additional obligations incur for both the legal person and PPA (e.g. the company must transfer all documentation regarding the weapons, their weapons, ammunition etc to PPA) which should be avoided.

Also, the supervision of activity license owners, such as weapons dealers and gunsmiths, will continue during the emergency situation, and in case legal grounds are determined for any violations, their activity license will be suspended or revoked.

PPA will not issue new weapons permits in case the applicant has not passed the exam and submitted the required medical certificate by the family doctor. Individuals who cannot acquire the given medical certificate must wait until the end of the emergency situation when the application will be proceeded according to the normal procedures.

The amendments will enter into force on the day following their publication in Riigi Teataja.