Tougher Gun Permit Procedures Outlined
Published 29.09.2008, 18.32 (updated 29.09.2008, 19.27)
Image: YLE
In the wake of last week's Kauhajoki shootings, the government and law enforcement officials are planning stricter gun laws. On Monday, the Interior Ministry issued new guidelines to police on granting gun permits.

According to the new policy, handgun permits will no longer be granted to first-time gun buyers.

Anyone learning to use a handgun will be required to do so under the guidance of a gun club at first. Would-be handgun owners will be allowed to apply for a permit after a year of active training.

Each applicant will also be required to hand to police a mental health evaluation by a doctor, certifying that the permit-seeker does not have any mental illness or problems that might pose danger to him or herself or others.

All first-time applicants must be interviewed by police, with at least two officers present.

The new rules cover pistols and revolvers of all sizes.

Holmlund: More Access to Health Data

On Monday, Interior Minister Anne Holmlund set up a panel to prepare a reform of gun laws.

One of the changes she is seeking would allow police more access to gun permit applicants' health records.

Holmlund said that authorities should be allowed to see applicants' health data from the Social Insurance Institution (Kela) and the Finnish Defence Forces, for instance.

Holmlund has also asked the committee to look into whether certain types of weapons could be banned altogether. She notes that this is a difficult task, since new kinds of arms are being developed all the time.

Overhauling the nation's gun laws is expected to take more than two years altogether. However Holmlund wants the first phase of reforms rushed through so that the government can submit it to Parliament next spring.

Also on Monday, in a sign of a new, stricter line on guns, Tampere police confiscated a gun from a student who had reportedly been bragging about having it. The student's gun permit was revoked.


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