National implementation of the Firearms Directive is progressing
Finland has made progress in the national implementation of the EU Firearms Directive. The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defence have worked closely with stakeholders to find solutions on how to implement the Directive at national level. Last year, three different thematic discussion sessions were organised for stakeholders. The Ministries have also held separate meetings with them.
"The outcome of the negotiations on the Firearms Directive at EU level was positive for Finland," says Johanna Puiro, chair of the working group preparing the relevant government proposal. "During the negotiations, the Finnish Parliament formed the opinion that the Directive should not unduly restrict recreational shooting or collecting of firearms, and this opinion has served as a guideline in the implementation of the Directive."
The aim is to make only those legislative amendments that the Directive requires. The changes to the Firearms Directive that generated the most discussion were the prohibition of certain firearms and the grounds for granting exemptions from this prohibition.
"These issues will be addressed as a whole in the draft proposal. It is important to consider the whole range of exemptions that can be granted in Finland in future to acquire or possess such prohibited firearms," stresses Puiro.
"In preparing the proposal, the Ministry of Defence has considered it important to seek to limit the adverse implications of the Directive for reservists' voluntary-based shooting practice," says Timo Tuurihalme, a working group member appointed by the Ministry of Defence.
"The Ministry of Defence wants to encourage reservists to engage in voluntary exercises that improve their own functional capacity. They can do this by taking physical exercise or using their own firearms for shooting practice, for example," emphasises Tuurihalme.
"In preparing the draft proposal, the aim was to find a solution that would work in practice, in other words meet the requirements laid down in the Firearms Directive and take account of the needs of the Ministry of Defence’s administrative branch and the concerns of other stakeholders," says Puiro.
The government proposal is scheduled to be sent out for comments at the beginning of March. In addition, a hearing on the matter will be organised in mid-March.
Johanna Puiro, Chief Specialist, tel. +358 295 488 584, [email protected]