Criminals, Mentally Sick or Unskilful Persons May Officially Hold a Weapons Permit

7/22/2004 | 12:00 AM

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TALLINN, 22 July 2004 - The State Audit Office assessed the granting of weapons permits and considers the possibility of weapons being possessed by persons endangering the others and themselves – whether due to their mental health, insufficient skills or law disobedience – to serve as the main threat.

This threat is present for three main reasons. First of all, examination of mental health of the person applying for a permit is very superficial and it is easy to get the certificate when mental disturbance is not obvious. Also, the police does not receive information concerning persons having been diagnosed with mental illness after being granted the weapons permit.

Secondly, the State Audit Office strongly disapproves the current procedure for granting weapons procurement permit: although the applicant is supposed to pass an examination on knowing the weapon and a shooting test, it gives no assurance whatsoever that the individual really knows the specific weapon purchased.

And as third, the police doesn’t learn of the death or unlawful behaviour of a owner of weapons fast enough. As the result, the weapons permit of such persons remains in force and among other things, this means that even a criminal may hold an official weapons permit.

The State Audit Office made a number of proposals to eliminate three of the main deficiencies listed. The Ministry responded by informing the State Audit Office of the drafting of a Weapons Act, including the provisions intended to preclude situations where weapons can be possessed by undesirable persons.

Besides these deficiencies it is remarkable that the number of weapons is so large. According to the information available to the Police Board, in Estonia 50,000 controlled firearms are currently used by the civilians; that is, one weapon per every thirty individuals. Therefore, the State Audit Office also recommends to consider the options for limiting the number of civil weapons in Estonia, but the Ministry of Internal Affairs neglected the respective proposals. For example, the Ministry refused to pass a provision, allowing individuals to own only one weapon for self.-defence purposes and allow only hunters to carry a rifle. The Ministry also didn’t agree to require the holder of a weapons permit to prove that he/she hasn’t lost his/her skills to handle a firearm when changing the weapons permit (this has to be done in every five years).

Sven Soiver
Press Representative of State Audit Office
Telephone: (372) 640 0787
GSM: (372) 53 414464
E-mail: [email protected]

  • Posted: 7/22/2004 12:00 AM
  • Last Update: 10/1/2015 10:46 AM
  • Last Review: 10/1/2015 10:46 AM

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