New firearms regulations from 1 June 2021
The new Act and Regulations relating to Firearms will come into force on 1 June 2021. The new regulations supersede the Firearms Act of 1961 with regulations and circulars. This means that all regulations, circulars and guidelines enshrined in the old act do not apply after 1 June. "The changes will have greater consequences for Svalbard than for mainland Norway," states Assistant Governor Sølvi Elvedahl.
Read more about the amendments here.
The introduction of new regulations will,among other things, require that persons who do not previously have a firearm permit for a similar type of firearm must apply for a permit to borrow/rent before they can borrow/rent a firearm. Application forms for permits to rent/borrow will be available on the Governor of Svalbard's website in the course of Monday 31 June.
"The amendments to the legislation will provide better control over who has access to firearms. Such as the legislation has been until 1 June this year, only the person who lends/rents the firearm can assess whether the borrower/renter is fit to borrow/rent the firearm, despite the fact that in practice there are very limited opportunities to make such an assessment. Considerations for public safety and the safe use of firearms indicate that the lender/renter should not be responsible for assessing the borrower's suitability. In the case of Svalbard, according to new legislation, this assessment will lie with the Governor of Svalbard. On the Norwegian mainland, this assessment will be made by the police," says Assistant Governor Sølvi Elvedahl.
Due to the risk of polar bear attacks, on Svalbard it is necessary to have firearms when going out into the field. The vast majority of households on Svalbard therefore have one or more firearms. As a result of current lending rules, where only a simple declaration is required when lending, it is very common to lend firearms between private individuals on Svalbard, including within the household, without having a firearms permit for the type of firearm in question.
"Under the new rules, persons who do not have a firearms permit for the type of firearm in question can no longer borrow firearms without first being granted a permit by the Governor of Svalbard," Sølvi Elvedahl points out.