December 16, 2015 / 12:08 PM / in 3 years

Finland seeks exception from EU gun ban

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland said on Wednesday it would demand some exceptions from planned European Union restrictions on the use of firearms, citing national defence needs.

Finland shares an 833 mile (1,340 km) border with Russia, is one of the few European countries to still run mandatory military service for all men.

Following deadly attacks by armed militants in Paris last month, the EU commission proposed tighter rules governing the issue and use of guns, including a ban for private persons to hold certain semi-automatic firearms.

Finnish parliament’s grand committee, however, concluded that such a restriction would harm the training of voluntary reservist clubs.

“We have tens of thousands of reservists who practise national defence training voluntarily... That is part of our whole national defence and it must be protected,” interior minister Petteri Orpo told reporters.

He said the commission had already signalled that an exception based on defence needs is possible.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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