The PSP estimates that more than 80 percent of legalised weapons in Portugal are from classes C and D, namely rifles that are in the hands of hunters, who can only use them when they are carrying out this activity.
According to PSP, which is responsible for controlling and supervising the manufacture, storage, marketing, use and transport of firearms, the number of legal weapons in Portugal has remained stable in recent years.
"Considering the number of new weapons that were acquired and entered the market through imports, transfers from the European area and national manufacture, but taking into account the weapons that were destroyed by the PSP, either by force of voluntary surrender or by judicial and administrative decisions of loss of weapons in favour of the State, there has been a stable number of weapons in the region of 1,500,000," says the security force.
PSP also estimates that there are more than 210,000 valid licences to use and carry weapons in Portugal, which include licences for collectors, defence or sport shooting.
In the answer sent to Lusa, PSP stresses that the number of arms licenses has been decreasing in Portugal since 2006, since the majority are for hunting weapons and the number of hunters has been decreasing.
PSP justifies the existence of fewer hunters in the country with the problems inherent to hunting, namely greater restrictions, animal diseases and the ageing of the population that engages in this activity.
In 2020, the majority of licenses issued by the Public Security Police were of class C and D weapons (used by hunters), a total of 11,617, and sport shooting (1,327).
Regarding the weapons that are in the possession of collectors, the Police clarifies that they can only circulate on the street when they go to collectors' events, where shooting is practiced, requiring an authorization from PSP.
About the weapons law that came into force in September 2019, the PSP gives a "very positive" assessment due to the restrictions it imposed, namely the limitation of the number of weapons for hunters and the need for a safe to store weapons at home, in addition to having clarified some aspects in terms of security.
In February a law was published in the Diário da República extending until 31 July the deadline for gun owners to acquire a safe to keep their firearms.
After acquiring the safe or non-portable cabinet, gun owners have to submit the respective proof, namely invoice-receipt or equivalent document, on the electronic platform made available by the PSP.
According to the legislation, firearm owners who fail to submit proof of the acquisition of the safe by 31 July will be punished with a fine of EUR 50 and warned of the obligation to purchase it for another 30 days, under penalty of being fined again.
An extraordinary period for the voluntary surrender of weapons not displayed or registered at any police facility of the PSP or GNR is currently running until 23 June, with no criminal consequences.
Owners of firearms who do not wish to surrender them to the State may proceed with their legalisation.