Unlicensed firearms and explosives - Police
Luvattomat ampuma-aseet ja räjähteet -en
Unlicensed firearms and explosives
You can hand over unlicensed firearms, firearm components, cartridges, specially dangerous projectiles and explosives to the police without legal consequences. However, must report them to the police on your own initiative. You can do this by phone or on an electronic form.
You must hand over any unlicensed firearms, components or explosives directly to the police, never to anyone else. For the same of your own safety, do not handle the objects.
When you report unlicensed firearms and explosives voluntarily, you will not be punished for illegal possession. However, you can still be held criminally liable for any offences committed using such objects.
From time to time, police departments will organise a special campaign, known as ‘gun amnesty’, to collect unlicensed firearms, components, cartridges and explosives.
What happens to the surrendered firearms?
The police returns the firearms, components, cartridges and specially dangerous firearms to the original legal owner, if the owner has or is granted a permit to possess them.
If you hand over a firearm to the police and you are not granted a permit to possess it, you have three months to look for a new owner who has a permit to acquire it. If you are not able to find a new owner, the police can then sell the firearm on your behalf by public auction. The sale price is paid to you after the administration costs have been deducted from it.
If the firearm is not sold, it will become state property without payment.
A firearm can also be rendered permanently unusable, i.e. deactivated. You can also surrender firearms to the state without payment. We recommend this particularly when firearms are in poor condition.
Firearm components, cartridges and specially dangerous ammunition are always surrendered to the state, unless they are handed over to the original, legal owner.
The police will seize any firearms, firearm components, cartridges, specially dangerous ammunition and explosives that have been stolen or used in criminal activity.
Any explosives that are assessed to be dangerous are destroyed.
Firearms belonging to the Defence Forces
If it is not clear who owns a firearm, there are some general principles which the police will follow. The main rule is that movable property is considered to be the property of the person in possession of it, unless it appears otherwise. The police will check in their registers whether the firearm or other surrendered object has been reported to have been stolen or lost or whether someone has a permit for it.
If the object contains the Finnish Defence Forces sales mark (the letter M), the firearm has been legally removed from the possession of the Defence Forces. The firearm is then handed over to the owner in accordance with the general principles.
If it is clear that the firearm belongs to the Defence Forces, the procedure is as follows.
Firearms found in a cache are handed over to the Defence Forces, provided that the firearms have not been in anybody’s possession. If it turns out that the firearm has been stolen from the Defence Forces during peacetime, i.e. later than immediately after the end of the war, it will be handed over to the Defence Forces. This includes all firearms marked with a tower emblem (in use since December 1968).
Firearms with a SA marking
Firearms with a SA marking (marking used from summer 1942 until the end of November 1968):
- Military pistols, revolvers, rifles and submachine guns that have been removed from the possession of the Finnish Defence Forces during or at the end of the war do not need to be handed over to the Defence Forces. Instead, they may be deactivated and returned to the person who surrendered them, or permits may be granted for them if the conditions for obtaining a permit under the Firearms Act are met.
- All firearms other than pistols, revolvers, rifles and submachine guns are always handed over to the Defence Forces.
Firearms with no Defence Forces markings
Not all firearms belonging to the Finnish Defence Forces carry a mark of ownership. These include firearms used by the Defence Forces before 1942 and firearms belonging to armies of other countries or to the Finnish Civil Guards.
Military pistols, revolvers, rifles and submachine guns that have been removed from the possession of the Finnish Defence Forces during or at the end of the war or that belonged to the Finnish Civil Guards or the armies of other countries during the Winter War, the Continuation War or the Lapland War do not need to be handed over to the Defence Forces. Instead, they may be deactivated and returned to the persons who were in possession of them, or permits may be granted for them if the conditions for obtaining a permit under the Firearms Act are met.
For any other type of firearms, excluding pistols, revolvers, rifles and submachine guns, if a person who hands over the firearm considers themselves as its rightful owner, the ownership is determined on a case-by-case basis with the person who handed it over and the Defence Forces.