The Game Service on Wednesday welcomed a bill proposal to ban people convicted of serious crimes abroad from acquiring a shotgun licence in Cyprus.
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily, Head of the Game Services Pantelis Hadjiyerou described the proposal as a "sensible move".
"The Game Services welcome all efforts to tighten gun control measures and improve public safety in Cyprus."
According to Hadjiyerou, current legislation bans people who were convicted in Cyprus from applying for a shotgun licence. This includes murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, kidnap, rape, arson, robbery, treason, involvement in a criminal organisation, possession, transportation or manufacturing of explosive devices and drug use, possession or trafficking.
"The thought that there could be shotgun owners in Cyprus who have been convicted of serious crimes abroad is a great concern to us and we believe this law adjustment will bring a sigh of relief to society," added Hadjiyerou.
Once passed, the law will allow police to conduct criminal background checks on applicants in their previous countries of residence.
Meanwhile, the other amendment stated in the bill aims to restrict air rifle licences to registered athletes who intend to use the gun in sport. In such cases the rifle must also conform to Olympic specifications.
Those wishing to be issued a Firearm Acquisition and Possession Licence for an air rifle or a handgun will be required to submit an application to the Chief of Police.
The registration of all guns takes place at the Firearms Office of the Divisional Police Headquarters of the District where the applicant resides.
Despite the amendment, Cyprus has fairly strict gun controls with a complete ban on handguns and rifles of all calibres for private citizens. The only firearm members of the public are allowed to use once a licence has been acquired is the double barrelled shotgun which holds two rounds. Pump action and semiautomatic shotguns are prohibited. A licence is also required to buy ammunition and a licence holder can only buy 250 cartridges at a time.