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Want to become a weapons collector?

Want to become a weapons collector?

A weapons collector’s aim is to collect and store firearms or firearm components for which they have a licence. 

Weapons collector approval is granted by the National Police Board. Weapons collecting is systematic in nature, not incidental or spur-of-the-moment.

If you are interested in weapons collecting or want to apply for weapons collector approval, please first familiarise yourself carefully with the relevant key legislation. The more thoroughly you know the Firearms Act, the easier collecting weapons will be. 

Safety is a central tenet of weapons collecting

As with all activities involving firearms, safety is a central consideration in weapons collecting. 
No one benefits from collected weapons falling into the wrong hands. Improper conduct that shows intent or negligence can lead to a warning or the suspension of collector approval. Suspension of collector approval is a safety precaution, not a punishment. 

The weapons collector

A weapons collector can be a private individual or a corporation or foundation registered in Finland performing a public function and approved by the National Police Board. 

A weapons collector collects and stores firearms, firearm components, cartridges or specially dangerous projectiles for historical, scientific, technological, educational or cultural heritage purposes. 

In the case of museums, weapons collecting may also be related to research and display. 
Only the aforementioned collection activities require the collector to apply for a licence. Collection of items such as “militaria” or deactivated weapons is not considered weapons collecting.

Being a weapons collector is grounds for applying for an acquisition permit

On the basis of being a weapons collector, a person or organisation may apply to authorities for an acquisition permit that entitles them to handle firearms. An acquisition permit is a permit that entitles the bearer to acquire, manufacture and possess firearms or firearm components. A weapons collector can support their application with the fact that they have been granted weapons collector approval. 

With weapons collector approval, items from the following groups may be acquired: 

  1. firearms
  2. firearm components
  3. cartridges 
  4. specially dangerous projectiles (aka ERVA projectiles).

In Finland, acquisition and possession of these items always requires a permit from the authorities. 

An acquisition permit is granted on application by a police department or the National Police Board. Police departments grant acquisition permits for all weapons except specially dangerous firearms (ERVA firearms). Acquisition permits for ERVA firearms are granted by the National Police Board. 

Weapons collector approval does not entitle the bearer to trade in weapons

Collecting and storing are absolute conditions of being a weapons collector and rule out the possibility of trade. A weapon that is possessed on the basis of weapons collector approval may be sold, but weapons collector approval may not be used as a basis for acquiring and selling items for a commercial or profit-seeking purpose. 
A weapons collector may also not use (i.e. fire), dismantle or assemble the cartridges or specially dangerous projectiles they have acquired, as it would contradict the storage purpose specified in the law.

Weapons collector fundamentals

Weapons collecting must always be related to one or more of the following functions which are exhaustively listed in the Firearms Act:

  1. history 
  2. science 
  3. technology 
  4. education
  5. cultural heritage.

Can the weapons in my collection be fired?

Weapons collector approval does not generally give the right to fire weapons or cartridges. 
If weapons in the collection are to be fired, this must be specified and justified in the application. The act of firing must be related to the aforementioned functions. 

Museums’ weapons collecting can also have a purpose related to research or recreation. Recreation does not mean firing weapons; it means, for example, display and exhibition. 

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How do I apply for approval?

You can deliver a written weapons collector application to any police station. The applicant will be identified and the application will be entered into the firearms database and sent, along with its supporting documents, to the National Police Board. The application will be processed and approved or rejected by the National Police Board. The National Police Board can also cancel any weapons collector approvals that have already been granted.

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What is meant by systematic and reasonable in relation to the collecting plan?

In a systematic plan, the applicant already has an established understanding of what kind of collection of firearms, firearm components, cartridges or specially dangerous projectiles they intend to build.

A systematic plan also includes a clear and coherent justification of why those specific items the applicant wants to collect are to be acquired. Such a plan must be logically justified and delimited. The applicant must also show that the plan is both technically and economically feasible in terms of its nature and scope.

A few examples:

  • “I want to collect beautiful weapons.”
    • This justification is not systematic because the concept of beauty is subjective and every person interprets it differently. The justification does not define which weapons are considered “beautiful”.
  • “I want to collect the A,B and C models of X,Y and Z make shotguns that have been manufactured between 1900 and 1930 because I find them beautiful and they have a reputation of being well made.”
    • This justification is better because the collection can already be narrowed down to a certain number of weapon models.

A reasonable plan is one in which weapons collecting does not conflict with the law or the morals of society. The application and plan must conform to the will of legislators, which is expressed in legislative materials.