VILNIUS – The Lithuanian parliament on Thursday allowed volunteer soldiers and members of the Riflemen's Union, a civilian paramilitary organization, to keep automatic guns at home and to use weapons or special means during patrols with police and border guards.
The Seimas passed amendments to the Law on the Control of Arms and Ammunition to allow l members of the professional military service, volunteer soldiers and members of the Riflemen's Union to acquire and keep at home personal A-category weapons and ammunition.
The legislation passed with 119 votes in favor, none against and five abstentions.
While a standard weapons permit is valid for five years, a permit for category A weapons for profession and volunteer soldiers and the so-called "riflemen" will be initially issued for two years and will then have to be renewed by the head of the territorial police office every five years.
"Some say that we are opening Pandora's box, but in fact we are [...] giving the right to three categories of people [...] to have automatic weapons in their homes: to own, acquire, train and defend the homeland," said MP Jonas Jarutis, the initiator of the amendment.
The Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union's parliamentarian also noted that Russia's war against Ukraine has shown that allowing the possession of weapons at home allows spreading the risks of weapons being destroying in the event of an invasion.
The current legislation allows volunteer soldiers and members of the Riflemen's Union to purchase and keep semi-automatic category B and C weapons at home. Category A weapons are prohibited in civilian circulation.