Estonia: The amendments will affect 683 foreigners permanently residing in the republic. The Estonian Parliament approved amendments to the law on weapons, according to which a weapon permit will be issued only to citizens of EU and NATO member states who have a residence permit in Estonia or live in the country on the basis of a residence permit.
67 deputies out of 101 voted for the amendments.
« All people who do not have Estonian citizenship, the citizenship of another European Union member state, or the citizenship of a NATO member state will lose their right to own weapons in Estonia, » Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets said at a press conference.
The amendments will affect 683 foreigners permanently residing in the republic, mostly citizens of Russia and Belarus, as well as 595 non-citizens who own hunting and other weapons.
« For them, weapons permits will be declared invalid, and the issuance of new permits will be stopped. Permits issued to persons with undetermined citizenship are valid until the date indicated on them, no more than five years. Permits issued to other foreigners are valid for one year, » – said the press service of the Parliament.
According to the deputies, the transitional period will make it possible to adapt to the changes, hand over weapons, make some of the weapons unsuitable for firing, or take action to change citizenship.
« If necessary, weapons and ammunition will be forcibly seized, » the statement says.
According to the amendments, only foreigners who speak Estonian at a sufficient level can now apply for a weapon permit. This is due to the fact that the corresponding exam will be held in full in the future in Estonia.
The updated law will also add to the grounds for refusing to issue a weapons permit. Among other things, it is provided that a person who has committed certain types of serious crimes will never be able to apply for a weapons permit.
It is planned that the amendments will come into force on March 5.