Committee proposes limiting gun licenses to Estonian speakers only
Foreigners may no longer be allowed to own a gun unless they speak a good level of Estonian if a new bill initiated by the Riigikogu's Legal Affairs Committee is passed.
There are two parts to the bill, one focuses on language and the other will stop people who have committed crimes from owning a gun, committee chairman Marek Jürgenson (Center) said.
He said Russia's attack on Ukraine means the weapons law needs to be clarified.
"It is very important to do everything possible to ensure that firearms do not fall into the hands of people who have committed a very serious crime or do not know how to handle weapons safely. We want, therefore, to supplement the grounds for refusing to issue weapons permits so that, for example, a person who has committed murder can never obtain a weapons permit," Jürgenson said.
The current rules state people who have committed crimes cannot own a weapon until their criminal record has been reset.
The language part of the draft also related to Russia's attack on Ukraine.
There are approximately 1,300 Russian or grey passport holders in Estonia who have weapons permits. After Russia attacked Ukraine in February, EKRE called for these people to be stripped of their weapons.
Committee member Anti Poolamets (EKRE) said: "We want to make the weapons exam completely in Estonian. This means that the theory part of the weapons test can no longer be carried out with the help of an interpreter."
However, EU legislation says weapons permits cannot be restricted due to nationality.
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Editor: Helen Wright