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At its today’s sitting, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) reviewed the proposals for amending the Weapons Act, and decided unanimously to send the Bill to the second reading. The Committee supported using of silencers during hunting, at firing ranges and field firing ranges. No agreement was reached regarding the allowing of laser sights and gas weapons.

“We weighed the arguments about whether hunters should be allowed to use silencers, and we found it was justified,” Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee Jaanus Karilaid said. He explained that the hunters wished to use silencers to reduce the noise level when hunting game in areas near the cities in order to disturb people less. Silencers would also be of help if it were necessary to shoot more animals at once.

The representatives of hunters pointed out at the sitting that when hunting a herd of wild boars to control swine fever, only one shot could be fired without the silencer, and after that, the herd would disperse, but with a silencer, it would be possible to hunt more animals.

Under the current law, it is permitted to use a silencer only on sporting firearms during shooting practice at firing ranges to reduce the noise level in the surrounding area.

The Committee also supported the motion to amend according to which it would be allowed to own up to 200 cartridges per all weapons of self-defence in the future. The current law allows to store up to 100 cartridges per each weapon. Hunters would still be allowed to store up to 300 cartridges. Shooting athletes may own up to 5000 cartridges for using in a firing range. The Committee supported increasing the number of primers permitted to be stored to 5000 primers.

The amendments proposed under the Bill on Amendments to the Weapons Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (494 SE), initiated by the Government, concern in particular the processing of various permits and the regulation concerning weapons incapable of firing.

It will be possible to refuse to issue a weapons permit to persons who have been repeatedly punished for committing an offence. The issue of a weapons permit may be refused and it may be revoked if there is suspicion that the owner of the weapon is a threat to national security. If a firearm is acquired for ensuring safety, the owners of the weapons will have to pass a practical test on handling firearms again when their weapons permits expire.

The Legal Affairs Committee sent the Bill to the second reading at the 8 February sitting of the Riigikogu with the proposal to conclude the second reading. The Committee supported the proposal unanimously.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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