29 September 2023,   13:45
Parliament of Georgia approved draft laws prepared by the MIA for the purpose of improving the control of weapons circulation

The Parliament of Georgia approved the amendment to the Law of Georgia "On Weapons" prepared by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and amendments to other related legislative acts. The aim of the legislative changes is to reduce and prevent cases of non-intended use of weapons. The main innovations of the adopted change are the following:

The total length of the weapon is determined as a criteria for dividing weapons into categories, therefore, weapons will be divided into short and long weapons according to their length. A pistol, a revolver or a weapon, the total length of which does not exceed 55 cm is considered a short weapon.

Within 6 months from the enactment of the law, the owner of a hunting rifle will be obliged to submit the mentioned weapon to the service agency for ballistic testing. Moreover, according to the law, these persons will be exempted from paying the ballistic examination fee and from the obligation to pass the relevant test. If the ballistic test shows that the weapon is short, it will fall into the category of self-defense and its repeated-registration will be carried out only with the right of keeping the weapon, and if it is determined that the weapon is long, the person will still have the right to carry it. Failure to fulfill the mandatory repeated-registration will result in administrative liability.

In order to strengthen the control of the circulation of weapons, the police officers are given the right to check the presence of registered weapons at a person"s place of residence, with his consent, but not more than 4 times a year. And, if the person does not agree the weapons to be checked at the residence, a protocol will be drawn up, obliging a person to submit the weapons requested by the policeman to the police within 7 days upon the request. The changes will also affect sports equipment. Physical person will have the right to carry sports short firearms and sports short pneumatic weapons for the purpose of fulfilling the qualification norms in sports shooting, participating in competitions and for repair, based on a temporary weapons certificate issued by the service agency.

The mandate of the National Shooting Federation and the state-recognized national sports organization (one of the directions of which is shooting) will be expanded. In particular, they will be able to purchase hunting and sports firearms, hunting and sports pneumatic weapons, as well as the main elements of these weapons and/or ammunition/projectiles, bring them into Georgia and/or temporarily take them out of Georgia based on a permit, as well as transfer sports weapons for participating in competitions, and in order to fulfill the qualification norms in sports shooting.

As a result of the change, all relevant legal entities (hunting farm, range, shooting range, shooting-hunting stand, national shooting federation and relevant sports organization) will have the obligation to register purchased weapons. It should be noted that under the adopted law, the owner of a registered weapon will be granted the right to transport up to 300 cartridges of screw-bore firearms (instead of 50 cartridges) without any permit or temporary certificate.

Additionally, it became permissible to reload hunting firearm cartridges for personal use without a license. According to the new regulations, a person will be able to reload a cartridge suitable for a firearm registered to him if he has held a purchase permit of a firearm for at least 5 years. In addition, the person is obliged to report the activity to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and also to follow the safety rules when manufacturing ammunition. Opening a reloaded cartridge for personal use (except for a cartridge intended for smoothbore hunting weapons) will result in criminal liability.

In addition, in order to effectively control the circulation of weapons, new offenses related to the circulation of weapons were defined. In particular, the loss of a firearm, failure to report the loss, refusal to present a civilian weapon upon a police officer"s request is defined as a crime; Violation of the rules of circulation of smooth-bore hunting firearms (guns) and gas pistols (unauthorized purchase, storage, carrying, transfer-shipping, forwarding, selling). Also, fines for offenses related to the circulation of pneumatic weapons have been tightened.

A new type of penalty is introduced, namely the restriction of the rights related to weapons, which means the restriction of the right to import and/or export the main elements of weapons, ammunition and/or the main elements of ammunition to Georgia, purchase, storage, carrying, transporting and forwarding weapons for a period of up to 5 years. In case of imposing the mentioned penalty, all licenses and permits of the person will be revoked and they will be given the opportunity to register the weapon to another person.

The law will come into effect on August 1, 2023.