Firearms: Cornerstep for Votes
One of the big Finnish newspaper published an election speech of MP Janne Heikkinen from the party IOC which belongs to EPP in Brussels:
Parliament approved the revised weapon law before the election holiday. The process started already in autumn 2015, when the EU called for a pan-European arms directive, with the aim of harmonizing arms legislation. Fortunately, the parts that radically constrained the original armament freedoms were blocked.
The original plan of the EU Commission was, however, a cold rush to the reservists. In this proposal, practically all arms or similar copies of the Defense Forces‘ handguns would have been transferred under such strict licensing conditions that the training of the shooting skill in the context of voluntary national defense and the applied reserve shelter would have been hit hard.
Fortunately, with the activity of the enthusiasts, we avoided the worst scenario in which the possession of weapons in Finland would have become almost impossible. For the next four years, Parliament will need representatives who have a clear understanding that the cornerstone of credible defense will continue to be the active reservists practicing and shooting with their private owned weaponry.
Ranking of pro-national defence and pro-gun candiates
FIREARMS UNITED Finland has actively taken action to secure this by mapping the pro-national defense and pro-gun candidates in a poll and then ranked the candidates. There are over 5 million people in Finland, and about 700 000 of them own firearms, so we are talking about serious amount of votes from gun owners that may swing the elections to interesting direction.
Details of new arms regulation
FIREARMS UNITED – Finland explains the most important details of the implementation.
In Finland it will be possible to apply for firearms permit for national defense purposes. While this sounds good, the process was made extremely rigorous due to extremely tight interpretation EU firearms directive by local officials who wrote the draft for the new firearms legislation.
The process requires applicant to member of the military reserve, and go through background checks by both Police and defense forces which can be both time consuming and costly process. In addition to this, mandatory training about firearms safety, firearms handling, firearms maintenance and safe storage of firearms will be provided and a shooting test must be passed to be able to apply for a permit. This training is provided by national defense training organization which is funded by the tax payers.
The proposal was passed by majority in Finnish parliament because of the changes in perception when it comes to modern sporting firearms. In Finland there has been an extremely long, labour intensive and successful campaign to change the image how semiautomatic modern sporting rifles are perceived. Due to EU directive and its impacts to national defense, MSR are seen as “reservists rifles” these days in media – something of vital importance for national defense!
Implemented. People who have bought semiautomatics after 12.6.2017 will have to reapply for permits (free of charge) and those who have valid reason will get A-permits. (Collector, sportshooter, reservists etc).
Magazine restrictions for hunters for new permits. They took the hit when it comes to Finnish implementation.
Psychological tests were abolished recently. Short firearm requires 24 months of documented sportshooting with club owned firearm and club membership. This has not changed since 2011.
Long firearm requires now club membership and 12 months. Sport shooting exception was fully implemented so normal magazines allowed.
Community owned firearms
These were supposed to be banned in the original draft but but all local associations fought this off and won. There is now a “training exception” which allows clubs to buy guns with normal capacity magazines (class A firearms that is) and use them to train new shooters. This is valuable and significant win, because now there is still a way of bringing new shooters into sport that requires certain “trial period” like 12 months for rifles.
Finnish proposal included a ban for shooting all guns part of collections. Local organizations fought this hard as well and won. Its remains legal for collectors to shoot their full auto weapons just like before. No markings for historically significant firearms either.
Minimum length of rifle was 84 cm in Finland. This was aligned with EU directive and now minimum length is 60 cm.
However, unlike sensible countries like Malta, CZ or Italy, Finland completely banned category A8 which has been possible so far to acquire on fixed length permits. Once the permits expire, the new legislation does not leave room to renew them.
Here is an example from Finnish reservist sniper who uses P90 as a secondary weapon and who will lose his firearm to state: Link
You permit will be canceled if you are found in possession of normal capacity magazine without permit in case they can prove that you did it on purpose.
Lengths of permits
The unrestricted permits are still possible and a permit should not be fixed time, unless there is a really good reason to do so. Even though the permit length is not limited, one has to proof that you still need the gun every 5 years or so, by essentially being part of a club for example and occasionally shooting stuff.
Picture by Oleg Volk