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Shooting Clubs: New Age Limits Kill Shooting Hobby

Government’s proposal to tighten gun laws has been met with a mixed response by gun clubs. The new, higher minimum age limits for gun ownership will render competitive shooting hobbies for youth obsolete, says the Finnish Shooting Sport Federation, SAL.

Kuva: YLE

SAL says it fears that the Interior Ministry's proposal, if enacted, could mean an end to competitive shooting at the junior level. SAL says it wants government to revise the proposed 20-year-old minimum age limit for handguns.

”The suggested changes would make it impossible for under 20-year-olds to compete in European and World Championship games,“ says Risto Aarrekivi of SAL.

Aarrekivi, however, says the proposal’s stipulation that firearm license applicants have to be shooting club members for two years prior to applying for a permit could bring firearm clubs new members.

Hunting Not Affected

Meanwhile, the Finnish Hunting Association says it’s in favour of strict and clear-cut gun laws.

”Hand guns are rarely used in hunting, and hunting permits are granted under strict supervision,” says Lauri Kontro of the Finnish Hunting Association.

Kontro reiterated that the school shooting tragedies in Kauhajoki and Jokela had no connection to sports hunting hobbies.

Hunting is growing in popularity in Finland. Some 300,000 new hunting permits are applied for yearly.