Police investigating how Lihula shooter was issued weapons permit

PPA chief Elmar Vaher.
PPA chief Elmar Vaher. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The police have started an investigation to find out how the suspect in a shooting in Lihula which killed two people was granted a weapons permit in 2017 despite having previous convictions.

Elmar Vaher, Director General of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), told ERR on Sunday the police started proceedings to understand how the suspect was issued a weapons permit despite a previous conviction for misuse of a firearm.

Vaher said the law allows for a permit to be granted to a person who has committed a crime but has served their punishment. The punishment of the shooting suspect had also expired, Vaher said.

"At the same time, the person conducting the proceedings still has the right to refuse to grant the permit, taking into account the person's previous behavior and lifestyle when they apply for the permit. According to the Weapons Act, the police could issue a permit despite the man's punishment, but in addition to the information in the criminal record, the person conducting the proceedings should have assessed the circumstances more thoroughly and refused to grant the permit," he said.

Vaher said the PPA also checks the data of all current weapon owners to determine whether there are still situations where a person has a legal right to obtain a weapons permit due to the expired sentence, but due to his or her lifestyle or behavior, the permit can be reconsidered.

The suspect, named as Mikk, was convicted of firing shots at an apartment building wall using an unlicensed Parabellum P08 pistol in 2008.

There were people in the building at the time and the shots hit the kitchen windows of two apartments, which is why the perpetrator was convinced of an aggravated breach of public order. He was ordered to pay a fine.

The same ruling also found the man guilty of possession of explosives after 38.91 grams of the explosive penthrite was discovered in his home.

The suspect has no valid punishments and held a valid weapons permit at the time of the events on Saturday evening. 

On Saturday evening the suspect shot two people near a gas station in Lihula, Pärnu County.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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