New legislation, prepared by the Justice ministry, which allows for the use of tasers by the police was approved by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday.
The comprehensive amendment, was drafted by the Ministry of Justice and Public Order after consultation with relevant ministries and bodies. The bill additionally regulates various other aspects of firearm ownership and will incorporate new EU directives that establish stricter firearm controls into national legislation. Amongst a raft of restrictions the legislation aims to keep guns out of the hands of those demonstrating violence in the family. It will also prohibit anyone who has secured an exemption from serving in the National Guard on mental health grounds from obtaining a permit or possessing/transporting any kind of gun. It will add regulations on the possession and transportation of air rifles and paintball guns and additionally introduces tougher criteria for gun dealers.
In relation to tasers the ministry in a previous statement clarified that the tasers, which have already been acquired by the authorities, will be used sparingly, as per the rules of engagement relating to firearms. In addition the tasers will only be used by specially trained officers in specific divisions such as the MMAD.
The bill allowing the use of such weapons was prepared following a study into their operation based on practices employed in other countries.
“It is a fact that in the past there were cases when police could have avoided the use of a firearm during efforts to apprehend suspects, if it had the capability of using tasers”
The legislation will “provide for their limited use, in very special cases where the alternative would be the use of the service pistol, with the aim of avoiding a gun shot that could cause death" the statement added.
The legislation will now head to the House of Representatives for approval.