The Parliament approved an amendment to the Weapons Act, with which Estonia's defence industry undertakings will be granted the right to manufacture and handle military weapons, ammunition and ordnance.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik stated that the importance of the amendment lies in the creation of the opportunity for domestic defence industry undertakings to manufacture, transport, store, repair, and demilitarise military weapons, ammunition, and ordnance.
‘The change is extremely important, with the winners being Estonia’s economy, security and companies,' emphasised Luik.
According to the Minister of Defence, armaments and ammunition have thus far been acquired, for the most part, abroad; now, however, the situation is changing and the export opportunities for Estonia's defence industry undertakings will increase.
‘The absence of a right to handle weapons and ammunition has long been a serious concern for Estonia's defence industry, one that hinders the development of the defence sector,’ said Luik.
The amendment of the Act will be accompanied by requirements and sanctions.
An operating license will only be issued to companies that are operating and registered in Estonia, and entrepreneurs, owners, managers, responsible people and employees must pass a background check.
It was projected in the draft Act that a total of five or six domestic companies will apply for permits during the first year, with an additional one or two applying annually in subsequent years.
In addition, the Parliament approved an amendment to the Act, which provides the option to begin applying for the restricting of the validity and issuance of permits and licenses to dodgers of the national defence obligation.