Stricter gun license screening coming: Justice chief

People who apply for a gun license in the future, will have to endure a much more intense screening. Those who want to own a weapon long term, such as hunters and hobby marksmen, will have to adhere to "very strict" safety demands.

This is stated in a legislative proposal of Minister Ivo Opstelten of Security and Justice. The private ownership of weapons and ammunition must not present a danger to society - and that can only be accomplished through very strict safety requirements, the proposal states.

Opstelten wants a stricter process to be followed before a weapon permit may be issued. Once in possession, the person's mental state must also continue to be monitored.

In future applicants must actively cooperate when submitting information, the request must be made in person and the applicant must be present in the check of storage facilities for weapons in home or business. In addition, the applicant's psychological state must be examined at the Trimbos Institute, and he or she must hand in three references. At the end of the process the police chief will assess whether the applicant is suitable for a gun license. People already in possession of a license must also undergo the new security screening at least once.

The reason for this legislative proposal is the shooting in a mall in Alphen aan den Rijn in 2011. Tristan van der Vlis shot and killed six people. He had a legal license for his firearm. The shooting incident indicated that even someone with a legal firearm can through circumstances become a risk - to themselves and to others.

According to the Ministry, about 70 thousand people are in possession of an individual weapon license or hunting license.