More than 600 weapon permits issued to Russians, Belarusians in Estonia
The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has issued 621 weapons permits to Russians and eight to Belarusians living in Estonia, data shows, which will now need to be revoked when the law is changed.
Under the terms of the new coalition deal struck by Reform/Isamaa/SDE, weapons permits will no longer be issued to Russians or Belarusians living in Estonia and valid permits will also be withdrawn.
This will start to take place after amendments have been made to the law but it is not yet known when they will enter into force. This means licenses could still be issued until the amendments are passed.
Anneli Annist, head of the PPA's Northern Prefecture permit group, could not say when licenses would start to be revoked or then rules would apply.
The PPA can only carry out its work based on the law and amendments have not yet been agreed, she said.
"At the moment, we can refuse to grant a weapon permit or to extend it if we have a reasonable suspicion that a specific person may threaten the security of Estonia. The mere fact that the applicant is a citizen of Russia or Belarus does not currently provide grounds for refusal," Annist told ERR.
She said in the last six months there have been cases where a permit was invalidated or not granted due to security issues.
It seems likely discussions about how to change the law will start soon, the PPA said.
The new law was put forward by Isamaa and EKRE after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Isamaa will be a member of the new coalition which is likely to take office on Monday.
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Editor: Helen Wright