The PSP police force has declared that they estimate that there are fewer firearms in homes, taking into account those that were voluntarily handed over and new weapons acquired, but noted that this decrease “may not be a trend” due to the pandemic.
In a report sent to Lusa news agency regarding the two years since the entry into force of the gun law, the main objective of which is to limit the number of firearms in the home, the Public Security Police state that "there has been a downward trend" in the number of firearms in the hands of the Portuguese.
“The balance between voluntary handovers of weapons and weapons registered for the first time leans significantly towards a greater number of handovers, thus pointing to a smaller number of firearms in the possession of citizens,” said the police.
However, the PSP points out that the year 2020 “may not be a trend”, since due to the restrictions imposed by the state of emergency to control the Covid-19 pandemic “it was not possible to organise or participate in hunting activities or shooting”, which may have led to the postponement of decisions to purchase new firearms.
Even so, the PSP, which is responsible for controlling and supervising the manufacture, storage, marketing, use and transport of firearms, points to the existence of around 1.5 million weapons in Portugal, the majority being guns and rifles intended for hunting.
The number of licenses for the use and possession of firearms issued annually by the PSP is also decreasing, from 45,133 in 2017 to 42,412 the following year, 37,470 in 2019 and to 7,605 last year.
“In recent years there has been a decrease in the total number of licenses issued annually, with special emphasis on the reduction of licenses to use and carry class D weapons”, stresses the police.
According to the PSP, this trend has been verified with greater incidence in the 2020-21 biennium due to the pandemic that “limited or even prevented, for long periods of time, the realisation of training courses and examinations to obtain a license to use and carry a weapon”.
The Public Security Police states that currently there are approximately 216,000 valid licenses.
Under this new law, there were two periods, one in 2019 and the other in 2021, of voluntary handing over of weapons not shown or registered in any police facility without any criminal consequences.
According to this security force, more than 54,000 firearms were voluntarily handed over to the PSP, 11,965 of which in 2019 and 42,448 in 2021.
These two periods surpassed the 6,635 handovers that occurred in the previous voluntary delivery process that took place in 2006.
Another change foreseen in the legal regime that came into force in September 2019 was the obligation for all firearm owners to purchase a non-portable safe or security cabinet to store their weapons at home.
After purchasing the safe or non-portable cabinet, holders of weapons must submit the respective proof on the electronic platform provided by the PSP, namely invoice-receipt or equivalent document.
The PSP has received, to date, more than 90,000 proof of installation of safes and non-portable security cabinets to store weapons.
According to this police, owners of firearms who do not submit proof of purchase of the safe are punished with a fine of €50 and warned of their obligation to purchase one within 30 days or face a further fine of between €700 and €7,000.