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Latvian Saeima conceptually approves new Law on the Handling of Weapons

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Thursday, 18 October, members of the Latvian Saeima conceptually supported the project for a new Law on the Handling of Weapons. The legislative draft provides new classifications of arms and munitions, as well as coordination with EU regulations on weapons handling, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

The legislative draft provides for dividing weapons and munitions into A, B and C category based on their technical parameters. Because these categories do not cover all weapons in circulation, an additional section is planned for national needs. This section includes categories D and F.

E category covers gas and signal weapons. At the same time, the legislative draft preserves classification of weapons and munitions based on the use of weapons (self-defence, hunting, sports and collection). The draft also includes a new application for weapons – culture and historic re-enactment.

It is planned that technical classifications of weapons and munitions will not apply to military or service weapons handled by state and municipal institutions with the right to procure, store and use firearms.

The legislative draft provides that handling of A-category weapons and munitions is strictly prohibited in Latvia. Nevertheless, some fully automatic weapons remade for semi-automatic fire may be allowed to be used in sports, the parliament notes.

B and C category weapons and munitions handling will require permission from State Police. It is also planned to establish that people who own gas pistols (revolvers) or signal weapons before the coming into force of the new law, will have to register their weapons with State Police before 14 September 2023. It will also be necessary to register with State Police salute weapons used in historic re-enactments.

Saeima’s press-service notes that the legislative draft details how private persons have the right to purchase or store no more than ten firearms and pneumatic weapons. This requirement does not extend to spare parts of firearms.

It is also planned to establish that only people aged 18 or older will be allowed to purchase and store laser-tag, paintball and strike-ball weapons whose shot energy does not exceed 12 joules. This age restriction will also apply to use of weapons for hunting.

The legislative draft states that State Police will issue weapons storage, carrying and collection permits for a five-year term.

Currently the law states that weapon-storage and collection permits, if not stated otherwise, are issued for unspecified period of time, whereas weapon-carrying permits are issued for ten years. European weapon certificates are issued for a period of five years. Permits issued for periods of up to ten years or an unspecified period of time before the new law comes into force will have their expiry dates set to 14 September 2023, the Saeima notes.

For the new law to come to force, it needs to be approved by the Saeima in two more readings.


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