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Licensing process for firearms becomes smoother, without compromising firearms safety

Ministry of the Interior
Publication date 7.9.2017 14.30
Press release 91/2017

The licensing process for firearms will be reformed by amending the Firearms Act and some of the related acts. The licencing process will become smoother and quicker without compromising firearms safety. The Government proposed on 7 September that the relevant legislative amendments be approved. The President of the Republic is to approve the amendments on 8 September. The amendments will enter into force on 1 December 2017, and in certain parts, in December 2018.

In future, applications for firearm licences may be submitted online, which considerably reduces the need to visit a local police department in person. In addition to this new procedure, people can submit their licence applications in person at any local police department. The online service will become available in December 2018. Until then, applications are submitted as before. Applying for a firearm licence will no longer be tied to the applicant’s municipality or place of residence, but licence applications can be submitted at any local police departments.

Grounds for granting firearm licences remain the same

The grounds for granting a firearm licence will not change; the applicant and the firearm still need to fulfil the requirements laid down in the Firearms Act. However, applying for a firearm licence will be smoother in future. The applicant’s suitability will also be better evaluated by conducting a more personalised interview and making better use of the information already available to the authorities. Particular attention will be paid to evaluating the suitability of people who apply for their first firearm licence or who resume their hobby after a break.

The suitability test will be abandoned because the usability of the test is poor, and in practice, the test has not been helpful when considering and deciding on the granting of licences. The decisions have never been based on the test results alone. The decisions to reject applications have always been based on information that the police have acquired by other means.

Separate licences and permits for acquiring and possessing firearms will be abolished, and they will be replaced with a single firearm licence. A firearm licence entitles the holder to possess a firearm, powerful air gun, or firearm component. The licence can include the right to acquire, manufacture or convert a firearm or firearm component for a private purpose.

Katriina Laitinen, Director of Legislative Affairs, tel. +358 295 488 559, [email protected]
Seppo Sivula, Chief Police Inspector, tel. +358 295 488 591, [email protected] (as of 11 September)