The Estonian government approved a bill seeking to extend the validity of weapons permits and firearms use-related permits for those otherwise set to expire during the emergency situation.
The amendment bill, which must also be approved by the Riigikogu, 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 plus an additional 60 days beyond its conclusion.
This period of time is necessary in order to allow those who need to renew their permits a reasonable amount of time to submit their applications as well as obtain a medical certificate following the conclusion of the emergency situation, the Ministry of the Interior announced. This should also provide sufficient time for the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) to return to their typical work patterns and handle weapons permits again.
The change will apply only those weapons owners who have previously been verified by the PPA, passed exams and been granted the right to handle weapons. The agency will continue to provide oversight of these individuals, and should it turn out that any of them have committed an offense during the emergency situation that would preclude them from the right to handle weapons, this will be reacted in accordance with normal procedures.
The bill also calls for activity permits due to expire during the emergency situation will have their validity extended for the duration of the emergency situation plus 60 days after the conclusion thereof. The Ministry of the Interior finds that the situation should be avoided in which a legal person's activity permit expires for reasons beyond their control. If this were to happen, both the legal entity and the PPA would be saddled with several obligations, including, for example, a company having to surrender all of its weapons-related documentation, weapons, ammunition, etc. to the PPA, a situation which the ministry believes should be avoided.
Oversight of activity license owners, such as weapons dealers and gunsmiths, will continue during the emergency situation, and should the legal grounds be determined for doing so, their activity license will be suspended or revoked.
These changes are part of a bill involving several amendments for changes to be implemented as measures in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Editor: Aili Vahtla