Kaljulaid: We need to assess how thoroughly firearms owners are checked

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

In a social media post made Sunday night, a day after a deadly shooting in Lihula, President Kersti Kaljulaid said that serious discussion is needed in society regarding how thorough background and health checks are for firearms owners.

While the majority of the 26,000 firearms owners in Estonia are responsible, there have nonetheless been two serious incidents involving the illegal use of legal firearms in recent weeks, Kaljulaid wrote on Facebook.

"These cases are different; however, both indicate the need to learn from them," she said. "We cannot yet generalize, but these events have already sparked a lot of questions and anxiety in society."

Answers to these questions will come from the relevant authorities, the president said. "But the time has clearly come for us to discuss in society and seriously evaluate how well we know the people who are entrusted with firearms ⁠— how thoroughly background and health checks are performed on weapons owners," she continued. "A weapon is inherently a source of increased risk which, in the wrong hands, can do a great deal of evil. I encourage the [Police and Border Guard Board, PPA] to always use their discretion to refuse to issue a weapons permit if someone's prior actions and behavior give even the slightest grounds to assume that the permit applicant has not understood the major responsibility that comes with a weapon."

Around 10 p.m. on Saturday night, a 32-year-old male opened fire on people near Lihula, in Lääneranna Municipality, killing two and injuring another three, two of whom were children. Police apprehended the suspect.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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