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On the cancellation of permits to carry and hold weapons

Case No. 50/2009

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ITEM 4 OF PARAGRAPH 2 OF ARTICLE 18 (WORDING OF 4 DECEMBER 2007) AND ITEM 5 (WORDING OF 4 DECEMBER 2007) OF PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 40 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON THE CONTROL OF WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION (WORDING OF 15 JANUARY 2002) WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

25 January 2013

Vilnius

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas,

with the secretary—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

in the presence of the representative of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, who was the judge Ernestas Spruogis,

the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned, who was Kristina Pažusytė, an advisor at the European Union and International Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas,

pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 3 January 2013, in the Court’s public hearing, heard constitutional justice case No. 50/2009 subsequent to the petition (No. 1B-64/2009) of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether the provision “A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if: <...> 4) during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime <...> upon reconciliation with the victim <...>” of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition (wording of 15 January 2002), together with Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of this law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it is prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of this law, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

According to the petitioner, under the impugned legal regulation, upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition (hereinafter also referred to as the Law) (wording of 15 January 2002), due to which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime upon reconciliation with the victim, a court, when deciding on whether a decision cancelling a permit to carry a weapon is lawful and reasoned, is precluded from assessing all the circumstances significant to the respective administrative case as well as from ascertaining whether the negative measure of a preventive nature (“sanction of prohibition”) has, by means of the said decision, been reasonably applied to the person specifically for a certain time period. The petitioner doubts as regards the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with the Constitution also due to the fact that, according to the petitioner, under Paragraph 1 of Article 38 (wording of 28 June 2007) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter also referred to as the CC), reconciliation with the victim may be achieved not only by the persons who have, as it is clear from the administrative case considered by the petitioner, committed a violation of the regulations governing road traffic safety or operation of vehicles, but also by the persons who have committed a less serious intentional crime; thus, with regard to all those persons the same decision to cancel a permit to carry a weapon would be adopted. The impugned legal regulation limits the court’s powers to administer justice as well as the person’s freedom to apply to court with a view to efficiently defending his acquired rights and violates the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

In the opinion of the petitioner, the impugned legal regulation is also in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law in the aspect that “the said negative measure of a preventive nature (‘sanction of prohibition’) may, by means of the decision to cancel a permit to carry a weapon, be imposed on the person for an unreasonably fixed time period, thereby violating the principle of legal certainty and definiteness, which is a constituent part of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

II

1. In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, who was Vitalij Dmitrijev, Head of the Office of the Committee on National Security and Defence of the Office of the Seimas, wherein it is maintained that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representative of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

1.1. The Law (wording of 15 January 2002) consolidates a stringent legal regulation, under which the issuance of permits to acquire weapons and ammunition, permits to carry weapons and permits to hold weapons and the possession of a weapon are linked to respective requirements imposed in respect of a person who seeks to obtain the said permits as well as in respect of that person’s environment and the storing of a weapon at his disposal, since, in order to protect public interests, public safety (safety of the public and public order) and the prevention of possible threats must be ensured, therefore, more stringent safety requirements have been imposed even with regard to lawful possession of a weapon.

1.2. Under Paragraph 6 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), a complaint may be filed with a court against a decision to cancel a permit to hold or a permit to carry weapons, therefore, a court considering a case concerning the cancellation of the said permit has the right, while following the conditions and requirements established by the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), to resolve the dispute concerning the application of the provisions of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) and concerning the reasonableness of the decision adopted in respect of the person as well as the compliance of such a decision with the requirements of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002).

1.3. The time span in Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), during which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, is differentiated by the legislator by taking account of the dangerousness of the committed deeds and the degree of their gravity, the person’s conviction record, his disposition towards violations as well as the sanctions that have been imposed on him. In addition, release from criminal liability upon reconciliation between the guilty party and the victim is a type of conditional release from criminal liability.

  1. In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were also received from the representatives of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were Olga Kisel, a chief specialist at the Criminal and Administrative Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, and Kristina Pažusytė, an advisor at the European Union and International Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, wherein it is maintained that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representatives of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

2.1. While consolidating the impugned legal regulation, the legislator exercised the discretion conferred on it. A person released from criminal liability had, nonetheless, committed a criminal deed (under the impugned legal regulation—a crime), which negatively characterises his personality and may be regarded as a sufficient ground to limit his right to carry a weapon. A permit to carry a weapon is linked to one’s personality, whereas the entry into force of the court judgement of conviction already conveys that the person’s personality is not of sufficiently good repute.

2.2. While systemically construing the impugned legal regulation, a conclusion is to be drawn that the loss of sufficiently good repute, rather than the commission of a criminal deed and release from criminal liability upon reconciliation with the victim, constitutes a ground to cancel a permit to carry a weapon. Thus, the measure of cancellation of a permit to carry a weapon is linked specifically to the fact of loss of sufficiently good repute, while the circumstance that a person has committed no unlawful deed is regarded by the legislator as one of the criteria of sufficiently good repute. Whether a person is of sufficiently good repute is determined not by the nature and degree of dangerousness of the deed, but by the contradiction of the deed with law and the dangerousness of the person who has committed that criminal deed, regardless of the fact that he has reconciled with the victim. Unlike the dangerousness of a criminal deed, a person’s sufficiently good repute is not graded, whereas the cancellation of a decision to allow the person to carry a weapon is directly linked to the loss of sufficiently good repute, but not to the degree of dangerousness of the person who has committed a crime.

2.3. A decision whereby a permit to carry a weapon is cancelled must be assessed not as a negative measure of a preventive nature, but rather as a sanction of a penal nature, the purpose of which is to limit the possibility for the person who has lost his sufficiently good repute to carry a weapon in the future, thereby precluding the possibility of using a weapon as a source of greater danger. The recognition of a person as being guilty of committing a criminal deed, regardless of whether or not he has reconciled with a victim, is, first of all, a ground to cancel a permit to carry a weapon, while treating the action of cancelling not as a negative measure of a preventive nature, i.e. a sanction of administrative law, but as a penal measure, i.e. a sanction of criminal law.

2.4. Paragraph 6 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) provides for a person’s right, after having received an unfavourable reply or having received no reply at all, to file a complaint against the decision with a court. Thus, the aforesaid legal regulation ensures the right of the person who believes that his rights have been violated to apply to an independent and impartial court. In that case, the court has no legal basis to assess the nature and degree of dangerousness of a committed criminal deed, nor any circumstances mitigating responsibility and other circumstances of significance, since the cancellation of a permit to carry a weapon is determined solely by the fact of losing one’s sufficiently good repute. The court deciding the question of cancellation of a permit to carry a weapon has no right to set any shorter or longer term of validity of the permit to carry a weapon, nor to individualise the persons’ liability, as the court is deciding not the question of the person’s criminal liability for a committed criminal deed, but that of the lawfulness and reasonableness (in view of the impugned provisions of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002)) of the decision whereby a permit to carry a weapon was cancelled. Otherwise the court would be assessing the limits of the legislator’s discretion to establish in a law as to what persons are not to be regarded as persons of sufficiently good repute and what decisions are necessary to be made in respect of persons who have lost sufficiently good repute.

III

  1. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, the judge E. Spruogis, the representative of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the petition and answered the questions of the justices of the Constitutional Court.
  2. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, who was Kristina Pažusytė, an advisor at the European Union and International Law Unit of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the petition and answered the questions of the justices of the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

  1. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether the provision “A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if: <...> 4) during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime <...> upon reconciliation with the victim <...>” of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), together with Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40, insofar as it is prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of this law, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 “Persons of Sufficiently Good Repute” (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), which is, to a certain extent, impugned by the petitioner, prescribed:

“2. A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if: <...>

4) during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime <...> upon reconciliation with the victim <...>.”

Thus, under the legal regulation consolidated in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), the condition upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute included inter alia those cases where during the last 3 years, in accordance with the established procedure, the person has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime upon reconciliation with the victim.

  1. From the material available in the constitutional justice case at issue it is clear that in the administrative case considered by the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, one was deciding a question of the cancellation of a permit to carry weapons upon the judge’s confirmation of the prosecutor’s decision to discontinue the pre-trial investigation as a result of the reconciliation between the guilty party (Paragraph 1 of Article 281 of the CC) and the victim.

In this context it needs to be noted that Article 281 “Violation of the Regulations Governing Road Traffic Safety or Operation of Vehicles” (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC inter alia prescribed:

“1. A person who, while driving a road vehicle, violates the regulations governing road traffic safety or operation of vehicles, where this results in an accident causing a non-severe impairment to another person’s health,

shall be punished with deprivation of the right to be employed in a certain position or to engage in a certain type of activities, or with a fine, or with arrest, or with deprivation of freedom for a term of up to two years. <...>

  1. A person shall be held liable under Paragraphs 1–6 of this Article only where the deeds provided for therein have been committed through negligence.”

Thus, the person is held liable under Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC, inter alia Paragraph 1 thereof, only where the deeds provided for in that article have been committed through negligence.

In this context it needs to be noted that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 11 of the CC, a crime is a dangerous deed (action or inaction) forbidden under this code and punishable with a custodial sentence.

  1. Thus, although the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, insofar as it indicates, doubts as regards the compliance of the provision “A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if: <...> 4) during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime <...> upon reconciliation with the victim <...>” of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), together with Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), with the Constitution, from the material of the constitutional justice case at issue and the petitioner’s arguments it is clear that the petitioner doubts as regards the provisions of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it is provided therein that a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime inter alia upon reconciliation with the victim.

Consequently, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will investigate the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with the Constitution only in the indicated aspect, i.e. only insofar as a person is not, on the specified grounds, regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute as a result of a committed negligent crime, and it will not investigate the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with the Constitution insofar as the said condition is related to the person’s release, on the specified grounds, from criminal liability for a committed intentional crime.

  1. Thus, in the constitutional justice case at issue, subsequent to the petitioner’s petition, the Constitutional Court will investigate whether Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribes that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

  1. On 2 July 1996, the Seimas adopted the Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition.
  2. On 15 January 2002, the Seimas adopted the Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition (the Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition of 2 July 1996 was recognised as no longer valid), which came into force on 1 July 2003. The objective of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) is to regulate the circulation of weapons and ammunition with a view to ensuring the safety of a human being, the public and the state (Paragraph 1 of Article 1).

2.1. Article 18 “Persons of Sufficiently Good Repute” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) inter alia prescribed:

“1. Under this Law, a person of sufficiently good repute shall be a person to whom the provisions of Paragraph 2 of this Article do not apply.

  1. A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if: <...>

6) during the last 3 years, as a result of an intentional crime or a negligent crime, which he committed under the influence of alcohol, being intoxicated with narcotic, psychotropic or other intoxicating substances, no criminal proceedings against him have been taken, or the criminal proceedings instituted against him were terminated, upon his agreement with the victim; <...>.”

Thus, Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) consolidated the conditions upon the occurrence of which a person is not, in the context of this law, regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the conditions consolidated in Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) determined the dangerousness of a person (in the context of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002)).

Under Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute inter alia in those cases where during a fixed time period, as a result of the commission of the indicated crimes, no criminal proceedings against him have been taken, or the criminal proceedings instituted against him have been terminated, upon his agreement with the victim. It needs to be noted that Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) specifies due to the commission of what crimes a person was not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, as a result of agreement with the victim, no criminal proceedings were taken, or the instituted criminal proceedings were terminated, against such a person: due to all intentional crimes or due to those negligent crimes that were committed by the person while being under the influence of alcohol, being intoxicated with narcotic, psychotropic or other intoxicating substances.

2.2. Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 “Cancellation of Permits to Carry and Permits to Hold Weapons and Ammunition” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) prescribed:

 “1. Permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C shall be cancelled: <...>

5) upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Items 3, 4, 7 and 9 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17 and Paragraph 2 of Article 18, except Item 4, of this Law; <...>.”

Thus, by Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), the cancellation of permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C was linked to the occurrence of the conditions due to which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute. It needs to be noted that the legal regulation in question inter alia means that in all cases, where inter alia the conditions specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) occur, a decision is adopted to cancel a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified Categories B and C.

  1. The Law (wording of 15 January 2002) has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33, 36, 37, 38, 40 and 41 of the Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition and Supplementing the Law with an Annex Thereto, which was adopted by the Seimas on 4 December 2007 and came into force on 5 June 2008 (save Article 33 thereof), by means of which the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) was supplemented by the Annex “EU Legal Acts Implemented by the Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition”.

3.1. By Article 14 of the aforementioned law, Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) was amended and set forth in its new wording.

Article 18 “Persons of Sufficiently Good Repute” (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), Item 4 of Paragraph 2 whereof is, to a certain extent, impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribed:

“1. Under this Law, a person of sufficiently good repute shall be a person to whom the provisions of Paragraph 2 of this Article do not apply.

  1. A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if: <...>

4) during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime on bail, or upon reconciliation with the victim, or on the basis of mitigating circumstances; <...>.”

After comparing the legal regulation consolidated in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) with the one consolidated in Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it is clear that the legal regulation, in the aspect relevant to the constitutional justice case at issue, changed in substance—a person is not, on the grounds in question, regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime upon reconciliation with the victim, i.e. the legislator established the aforementioned condition upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, without specifying for the commission of what crimes a person released from criminal liability according to the established procedure is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute.

3.2. Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 “Cancellation of Permits to Carry and Permits to Hold Weapons and Ammunition” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), which is, to a certain extent, impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, prescribed:

“1. Permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C shall be cancelled: <...>

5) upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Items 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17 and Paragraph 2 of Article 18, except Item 7, of this Law; <...>.”

After comparing the legal regulation consolidated in Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) with the one consolidated in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it is clear that the impugned legal regulation has, in the aspect under consideration in the constitutional justice case at issue, remained unchanged.

Thus, under Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), in all cases upon the occurrence inter alia of the conditions established in Item 4 Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled.

3.3. The provisions of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) and Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) are to be construed in the context of other provisions of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002).

3.3.1. The indicated legal regulation is to be construed in the context of the provisions of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) that are related to the limitations and conditions of the right to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition, upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute.

3.3.1.1. Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17 “Limitations of the Right to Acquire and Possess Weapons and Ammunition” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) prescribed:

“1. Weapons classified in Categories B and C and ammunition for them may not be acquired and possessed by a natural person: <...>

2) who is not of sufficiently good repute; <...>.”

3.3.1.2. Item 12 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 “Persons of Sufficiently Good Repute” (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) prescribed:

“2. A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if: <...>

12) his permit to carry a weapon or permit to hold a weapon has been cancelled or has not been extended on the grounds of this Article, or for other violations of circulation of weapons, and less than 3 years have passed since that moment.”

3.3.1.3. While construing Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) in the context of Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17 and Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it needs to be noted that, once a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute inter alia due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime upon reconciliation with the victim, such a person may not be entitled to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C, whereas where such a right has been granted and a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C have been issued, such permits must be cancelled.

Consequently, after the legislator has linked a person’s right to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C with the person’s sufficiently good repute and has established that a permit issued to the person to carry, as well as a permit to hold, weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C is cancelled where the person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, the fact that a person is not a person of sufficiently good repute due to the existence of the conditions established in Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), inter alia in Item 4 thereof, determines the limitation of the right to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C.

3.3.1.4. While construing Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) in the context of Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17, Item 12 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) and Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it needs to be noted that the legal regulation in question sets the period of 3 years during which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if during that period he has been released from criminal liability according to the established procedure upon reconciliation with the victim, i.e. the period during which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute and may not be entitled to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C, whereas where the said person has been granted such a right and a permit to carry as well as a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C has been issued, such a permit must be cancelled.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, under the legal regulation in question, a person whose permit to carry as well as permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C is cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition provided for in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), i.e. where the person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime inter alia upon reconciliation with the victim, is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute during the period of 3 years from the occurrence of the said condition.

3.3.1.5. In this context, while construing the impugned Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), together with Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it needs to be noted that, under this legal regulation, once a person is not, in the context of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime inter alia upon reconciliation with the victim, permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled and during the period of 3 years from the occurrence of the said condition such a person may not be entitled to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C.

3.3.2. The provisions of Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) are to be construed in the context of the provisions of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) that are related to the classification of weapons.

3.3.2.1. Paragraph 47 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Article 2 “The Main Notions of the Law” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) prescribed:

“Classification of weapons, their accessories and ammunition means attributing, under this Law, weapons, their accessories and ammunition to one of the categories (A, B, C or D) according to a degree of their dangerousness. Weapons, their accessories and ammunition classified in Category A are the most dangerous ones, while weapons and ammunition in Category D are the least dangerous ones.”

Thus, under the legal regulation consolidated in the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), weapons, their accessories and ammunition are classified in four categories (A, B, C or D) according to a degree of their dangerousness. Weapons, their accessories and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are less dangerous than those classified in Category A, but more dangerous than weapons and ammunition classified in Category D.

3.3.2.2. While construing the provisions of Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) in the context of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) and Item 47 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Article 2 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it needs to be noted that, under that legal regulation, upon the occurrence of the conditions provided for in inter alia Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), i.e. where a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime inter alia upon reconciliation with the victim, permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C, i.e. permits to carry and permits to hold dangerous weapons and ammunition, had to be cancelled.

3.3.3. Paragraph 6 of Article 40 “Cancellation of Permits to Carry and Permits to Hold Weapons and Ammunition” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) prescribed:

“The decision to cancel or to refuse the renewal of validity of a permit to carry or a permit to hold a weapon shall be adopted by the head of the police office that issued the permit. Such a decision must be reasoned. A person shall have the right to file a complaint against the decision with the General Commissioner of the Police not later than within 30 days. In the event of an unfavourable reply or absence of any reply, a person may, within 30 days, file a complaint against the decision with a court.”

Thus, Paragraph 6 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) provided for the procedure under which a complaint may be filed inter alia against a decision to cancel a permit to hold or a permit to carry weapons inter alia with a court.

While construing Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), together with Paragraph 6 of Article 40 and Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it is clear that once a decision has been adopted to cancel a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C, where the person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime inter alia upon reconciliation with the victim, then a complaint may be filed against such a decision with a court in accordance with the established procedure.

3.4. In this context it needs to be noted that in the Annex “EU Legal Acts Implemented by the Law on the Control Weapons and Ammunition” (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) it is provided that the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) implements Council Directive 91/477/EEC of 18 June 1991 on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons (hereinafter also referred to as the Directive).

While construing the provisions of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) that are impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, one also needs to take account of the legal regulation consolidated in the Directive.

3.4.1. Under Article 2 of the Directive, the provisions thereof are without prejudice to the application of national provisions concerning the carrying of weapons, hunting or target shooting. In addition, the provisions of the Directive do not apply to the acquisition or possession of weapons and ammunition by the armed forces, the police, the public authorities or by collectors and bodies concerned with the cultural and historical aspects of weapons and recognised as such by the Member State in whose territory they are established. Nor does the Directive apply to commercial transfers of weapons and ammunition of war.

3.4.2. Article 5 of the Directive inter alia prescribes:

“Without prejudice to Article 3, Member States shall allow the acquisition and possession of firearms classified in Category B only by persons who have good cause and who:

  1. a) are 18 years old or more, except for hunting or target shooting,
  2. b) are not likely to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety.

Without prejudice to Article 3, Member States shall allow the possession of firearms classified in categories C and D only by persons satisfying the conditions in Point (a) of the first paragraph.

Member States may withdraw authorisation for possession of the firearm if any of the conditions in Point (b) of the first paragraph is no longer satisfied.”

3.4.3. Article 3 of the Directive prescribes: “Member States may adopt in their legislation provisions which are more stringent than those provided for in this Directive, subject to the rights conferred on residents of the Member States by Article 12 (2).”

3.4.4. Thus, under Article 5 of the Directive, Member States allow the acquisition and possession of firearms classified in Category B only by persons who meet the requirements set in the Directive—who have good cause and are 18 years old or more, except for hunting or target shooting, and are not likely to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety. The requirements of being no danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety do not apply to persons seeking to acquire and possess firearms classified in Categories C and D.

It needs to be noted that, under the third paragraph of Article 5 of the Directive, in those cases where persons no longer satisfy any of the requirements set in Point (b) of the first paragraph of Article 5 of the Directive, i.e. the requirements of being no danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety, authorisation for possession of the firearm may be withdrawn.

It needs to be emphasised that in the course of implementing the provisions of the Directive Member States could adopt a legal regulation that is more stringent, save the exception specified in the Directive.

3.4.5. In this context it also needs to be noted that the Directive was partly amended by adopting Directive 2008/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons (hereinafter also referred to as the Directive of 2008).

By Paragraph 4 of Article 1 of the Directive of 2008, Article 5 of the Directive was amended, inter alia it has been established:

“Without prejudice to Article 3, Member States shall permit the acquisition and possession of firearms only by persons who have good cause and who: <...>

  1. b) are not likely to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety. Having been convicted of a violent intentional crime shall be considered as indicative of such danger.

Member States may withdraw authorisation for possession of a firearm if any of the conditions on the basis of which it was granted are no longer satisfied. <...>”

Thus, while specifying in the Directive of 2008 the requirements that must be satisfied by persons whom Member States permit the acquisition and possession of firearms, it is prescribed that having been convicted of a violent intentional crime is considered to be a danger to oneself, to public order or to public safety, and it is a ground to refuse such persons the acquisition and possession of firearms or to withdraw authorisation for possession of a firearm where such authorisation has been granted.

Consequently, the Directive, as partly amended by the Directive of 2008, specifies in detail the requirement, constituting a ground to permit a person the acquisition and possession of firearms or a ground to withdraw authorisation to possess a firearm where such authorisation has been granted, not to be a danger to oneself, to public order or to public safety; the fact of having been convicted of a violent intentional crime is in all cases considered as being not in line with the said requirement. Thus, by concretely linking, in the indicated aspect, a danger to oneself, to public order or to public safety solely to the fact of having been convicted of a violent intentional crime, criminal deeds have been, in the aspect in question, differentiated. It needs to be noted that Member States have a possibility of establishing more stringent requirements, inter alia linking the danger in question to certain negligent crimes, as well.

3.4.6. Consequently, the Directive, which is implemented by the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), links the authorisation to acquire and possess inter alia firearms classified in Categories B and C to certain requirements laid down in respect of persons wishing to acquire and possess the indicated firearms, inter alia to the requirement that persons seeking to acquire and possess firearms classified in Category B must not be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety.

It also needs to be emphasised that, under the Directive, the authorisation for possession of a firearm classified in Category B could be withdrawn if one no longer satisfies any of the specified requirements: not to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety.

In this context it needs to be emphasised that the Directive, implemented by the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), prescribed the requirements of only a general character, which, if satisfied, permit persons to acquire and possess inter alia firearms classified in Categories B and C, whereas non-compliance with which could lead to withdrawal of the corresponding authorisation. In the course of implementing the Directive, Member States could provide for the measures that could particularise the requirements laid down in the Directive, inter alia make them more stringent. While implementing the Directive, Member States inter alia could prescribe in what cases persons are considered to be a danger to themselves, to public order or to public safety.

  1. The provisions of Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 19 January 2000) are to be construed in the context of the provisions of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (wording of 19 September 2000) (hereinafter also referred to as the LPAC).

4.1. Items 1 and 2 of Article 88 “Types of Decisions” of the LPAC (wording of 19 September 2000) prescribe:

 “Upon hearing a case, the administrative court shall adopt one of the following decisions:

1) to reject the complaint (petition) as unfounded;

2) to meet the complaint (petition) and revoke the contested act (part thereof) or to obligate the appropriate entity of administration to remedy the committed violation or carry out other orders of the court; <...>.”

Thus, Article 88 of the LPAC (wording of 19 September 2000) specifies what types of decisions the administrative court may adopt upon hearing a case, inter alia decisions to meet the complaint (petition) and revoke the contested act (part thereof).

4.2. Grounds for annulment of contested acts are consolidated in Article 89 “Grounds for Annulment of Contested Acts” of the LPAC (wording of 19 September 2000), which prescribes:

“1. A contested act (or a part thereof) must be annulled if it is:

1) illegal in substance, i.e., conflicting by its contents with legal acts of greater power;

2) illegal by reason of being adopted by an entity of administration acting outside the remit of its competence;

3) illegal as it was adopted in violation of the basic procedures, especially the rules that were to ensure the objective evaluation of all circumstances and the validity of the decision.

  1. The contested act (or a part thereof) may also be annulled on other grounds recognised as material by the administrative court.”

Thus, Article 89 of the LPAC (wording of 19 September 2000) consolidates the grounds upon establishing which the administrative court annuls the contested act (or a part thereof).

It needs to be noted that, under Article 89 of the LPAC (wording of 19 September 2000), after the administrative court verifies as to whether the imperative requirements of laws and other legal acts were observed while adopting the contested act and once it establishes that the contested act is illegal in substance or illegal by reason of being adopted by an entity of administration acting outside the remit of its competence, or illegal as it was adopted in violation of the basic procedures, especially the rules that were to ensure the objective evaluation of all circumstances and the validity of the decision, the contested act (or a part thereof) must be annulled. The administrative court may also annul the contested act (or a part thereof) on other grounds recognised as material by the administrative court.

4.3. While construing Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), together with Item 2 of Article 88 and Paragraph 1 of Article 89 of the LPAC (wording of 19 September 2000), it is clear that, when deciding regarding the annulment of the decision whereby a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C were cancelled, inter alia where such a decision was adopted upon the occurrence of the conditions established in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), the administrative court verifies as to whether the imperative requirements of laws and other legal acts were observed while adopting the said decision. If the administrative court establishes that the contested decision is unlawful in substance or is unlawful by reason of being adopted by an entity of administration acting outside the remit of its competence, or unlawful as it was adopted in violation of the basic procedures, especially the rules that were to ensure the objective evaluation of all circumstances and the validity of the decision, or there are other grounds of unlawfulness of the decision that are recognised as material by the administrative court, the administrative court annuls the contested decision.

  1. In the constitutional justice case at issue the impugned legal regulation is also to be construed in the context of the provisions of the CC.

5.1. The impugned legal regulation is to be construed in the context of the provisions of the CC that are related to a person’s release from criminal liability.

5.1.1. Paragraph 1 of Article 38 “Release from Criminal Liability upon Reconciliation between the Guilty Party and the Victim” prescribed:

“1. A person who commits a criminal offence, a negligent crime or a minor or less serious intentional crime may be released by a court from criminal liability where:

1) he has confessed to the commission of the criminal deed, and

2) voluntarily compensated for or eliminated the damage incurred to a natural or legal person or agreed on the compensation for or elimination of this damage, and

3) has reconciled with the victim or a representative of a legal person or a state institution, and

4) there is a ground for believing that he will not commit any new criminal deeds.”

It needs to be noted that Article 38 of the CC has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, inter alia upon adopting the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 38, 47, 63, 66, 70, 75, 82, 93, 129, 166, 167, 172, 178, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 189, 194, 196, 197, 198, 1981, 1982, 199, 202, 213, 214, 215, 225, 227, 228, 231, 233, 235, 252, 256, 257, 262, 284, 285, 312 of the Criminal Code and the Annex Thereof, Amending the Titles of Chapters XXVI and XXX and Supplementing the Code with Articles 2561 and 2571 by the Seimas on 28 June 2007, however, the legal regulation consolidated in the said article has, in the aspect relevant to the constitutional justice case at issue, remained unchanged.

Thus, a person could and may be released by a court from criminal liability under the conditions provided for by the law and only in the cases where the person committed a criminal offence, a negligent crime or a minor or less serious intentional crime, i.e. a court could and may, upon the indicated ground, release from criminal liability a person who committed criminal deeds of different dangerousness.

5.1.2. While construing the provisions of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), together with the provisions of Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 June 2007) of Article 38 of the CC, it needs to be held that, under Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime or a minor or less serious intentional crime upon reconciliation with the victim.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, under the legal regulation consolidated in the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), a person is not, on the grounds in question, regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute even in the cases where during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim.

It needs to be emphasised that, under Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), upon the occurrence of the aforementioned condition established in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C had to be cancelled.

5.1.3. In this context it also needs to be noted that, while construing Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), together with Paragraph 6 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) and the provisions of Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 June 2007) of Article 38 of the CC, it is clear that, once a decision has been adopted to cancel a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C, where the person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, a complaint may be filed against such a decision with a court.

5.2. The impugned legal regulation is to be construed in the context of the provisions of the CC that consolidate the forms of guilt.

5.2.1. Under Article 14 “Forms of Guilt” of the CC, a person is found guilty of the commission of a crime or criminal offence where he has committed that deed with intent or through negligence.

5.2.2. Article 15 “An Intentional Crime and Criminal Offence” of the CC prescribes:

“1. A crime or criminal offence shall be intentional where it has been committed with direct or indirect intent.

  1. A crime or criminal offence shall be committed with direct intent where:

1) when committing it, the person was aware of the dangerous nature of the criminal deed and desired to engage therein;

2) when committing it, the person was aware of the dangerous nature of the criminal deed, foresaw that his action or inaction might cause the consequences provided for by this Code and desired those consequences to occur.

  1. A crime or criminal offence shall be committed with indirect intent where, when committing it, the person was aware of the dangerous nature of the criminal deed, foresaw that his action or inaction might cause the consequences provided for by this Code and, though he did not desire those consequences, consciously allowed them to occur.”

Thus, under the legal regulation consolidated in the CC, there are two types of intent as forms of guilt—direct and indirect intent.

It needs to be noted that, under the CC, in the cases where a crime or criminal offence is committed with direct intent, as well as in the cases where it is committed with indirect intent, the person who committed the crime or criminal offence was not only aware of the dangerous nature of the criminal deed, but also, while foreseeing that the committed deed might cause the consequences provided for by the CC, desired those consequences or, though he did not desire them, consciously allowed them to occur.

5.2.3. Article 16 “A Negligent Crime and Criminal Offence” of the CC prescribes:

“1. A crime or criminal offence shall be committed through negligence where it has been committed through criminal recklessness or criminal carelessness.

  1. A crime or criminal offence shall be committed through criminal recklessness if the person who committed the deed foresaw that his action or inaction might cause the consequences provided for by this Code, but recklessly expected to avoid them.
  2. A crime or criminal offence shall be committed through criminal carelessness if the person who committed the deed did not foresee that his action or inaction might cause the consequences provided for by this Code, although the person could and ought to have foreseen that based on the circumstances of the deed and his personal traits.
  3. A person shall be punishable for the commission of a crime or criminal offence through negligence solely in the cases separately provided for in the Special Part of this Code.”

Thus, under the legal regulation consolidated in the CC, there are two types of negligence as forms of guilt—–criminal recklessness and criminal carelessness.

It needs to be noted that a crime or criminal offence is committed through negligence only in those cases where the person who committed it either foresaw that his deed might cause the consequences provided for in the CC, but recklessly expected to avoid them (criminal recklessness), or did not foresee that his deed might cause such consequences, although he could and ought to have foreseen that based on the circumstances of the deed and his personal traits (criminal carelessness).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that negligent crimes may be the crimes that were committed by the person who foresaw that his deed might cause the consequences provided for in the CC, but recklessly expected to avoid them, as well as those that were committed by the person who did not foresee that his deed might cause such consequences, although he could and ought to have foreseen that based on the circumstances of the deed and his personal traits.

It also needs to be noted that a person is punishable for the commission of a crime or criminal offence through negligence only in the cases separately provided for in the Special Part of the CC.

5.2.4. While construing the legal regulation consolidated in Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) in the context of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) and Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the CC, it needs to be noted that, under Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled in all cases upon the occurrence of inter alia the conditions established in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), i.e. where a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been, inter alia upon reconciliation with the victim, released from criminal liability for negligent crimes, i.e. the crimes while committing which the person foresaw that his deed might cause the consequences provided for in the CC, but recklessly expected to avoid them, as well as the crimes while committing which the person did not foresee the said consequences of his deed, although he could and ought to have foreseen them based on the circumstances of the deed and his personal traits.

5.3. The provisions of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) are to be construed inter alia in the context of the provisions of Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC.

5.3.1. Article 281 “Violation of the Regulations Governing Road Traffic Safety or Operation of Vehicles” (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC prescribed:

“1. A person who, while driving a road vehicle, violates the regulations governing road traffic safety or operation of vehicles, where this results in a traffic accident causing a non-severe impairment to another person’s health,

shall be punished with deprivation of the right to be employed in a certain position or to engage in a certain type of activities, or with a fine, or with arrest, or with deprivation of freedom for a term of up to two years.

  1. A person who drives a road vehicle under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances and violates the regulations governing road traffic safety or operation of vehicles, where this results in a traffic accident causing a non-severe impairment to another person’s health or the victim suffers major property damage,

shall be punished with a fine, or with arrest, or with deprivation of freedom for up to three years.

  1. A person who, while driving a road vehicle, violates the regulations governing road traffic safety or operation of vehicles, where this results in a traffic accident causing a severe impairment to another person’s health,

shall be punished with deprivation of the right to be employed in a certain position or to engage in a certain type of activities, or with a fine, or with arrest, or with deprivation of freedom for a term of up to five years.

  1. A person who commits the deed indicated in Paragraph 3 of this Article under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances,

shall be punished with deprivation of freedom for a term of up to six years.

  1. A person who, while driving a road vehicle, violates the regulations governing road traffic safety or operation of vehicles, where this results in a traffic accident causing a person’s death,

shall be punished with deprivation of freedom for a term of up to eight years.

  1. A person who commits the deed indicated in Paragraph 5 of this Article under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances,

shall be punished with deprivation of freedom for a term from three to ten years.

  1. A person shall be held liable under Paragraphs 1-6 of this Article only where the deeds provided for therein have been committed through negligence. <...>”

Thus, Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC provided for liability for violations of the regulations governing road traffic safety or operation of vehicles. It needs to be noted that a person is held liable under Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC only in those cases where the deeds specified therein have been committed through negligence, with the law providing that inter alia the greatest punishment for those deeds is deprivation of freedom for a term up to 2–10 years (Paragraphs 1–6), i.e. the limits of the punishment with fixed-term deprivation of freedom provided for the said deeds vary.

It has been mentioned that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 11 of the CC, a crime is a dangerous deed (action or inaction) forbidden under this code and punishable with deprivation of freedom; thus, Paragraphs 1–6 of Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC provide for liability for negligent crimes.

Consequently, having provided for inter alia different limits of the punishment with fixed-term deprivation of freedom for the commission of the deeds specified in Paragraphs 1–6 of Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC, the negligent crimes in question have been differentiated while taking account of their dangerousness.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be mentioned that, as it is clear from the provisions of Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC, negligent crimes may vary inter alia in the features qualifying them, as, for instance, they may be committed under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances.

Thus, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, under the legal regulation consolidated by the legislator in the CC, negligent crimes vary in dangerousness, inter alia in the features qualifying them, as, for instance, they may be committed by persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances, and for the commission of them the law may provide for inter alia differentiated punishment with fixed-term deprivation of freedom.

5.3.2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, while construing the provisions of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) by taking account of the provisions of Article 281 (wording of 4 July 2003) of the CC, it needs to be noted that the established condition upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute is linked to the commission of all negligent crimes.

  1. While summing up the legal regulation set forth in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) and Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it needs to be held that:

– the legislator consolidated in Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) the legal regulation under which permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the conditions consolidated inter alia in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), due to which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute; if the said conditions occur, the person may not be entitled to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C, whereas where such a right has been granted and a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C have been issued, such permits must be cancelled;

– the administrative court, when deciding regarding the annulment of a decision whereby a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C were cancelled, inter alia where such a decision was adopted upon the occurrence of the conditions established in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), verifies as to whether while adopting that decision the imperative requirements of laws and other legal acts were observed; under the LPAC (wording of 19 September 2000), if the administrative court establishes that the contested decision is unlawful in substance or is unlawful by reason of being adopted by an entity of administration acting outside the remit of its competence, or unlawful as it was adopted in violation of the basic procedures, especially the rules that were to ensure the objective evaluation of all circumstances and the validity of the decision, or that there are other grounds of unlawfulness of the decision that are recognised as material by the administrative court, it annuls the contested decision;

– the condition of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, was established without differentiating negligent crimes, for the commission of which a person released from criminal liability according to the established procedure is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, although, under the legal regulation consolidated by the legislator in the CC, negligent crimes vary in dangerousness, inter alia the features qualifying them, as, for instance, they may be committed by persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances, for the commission of them the law may provide for inter alia differentiated punishment with fixed-term deprivation of freedom, and they may be committed through different type of negligence as a form of guilt;

– upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), i.e. where a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime upon reconciliation with the victim, a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute during the period of 3 years from the occurrence of that condition; once a person is not, on the indicated grounds, regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are, under Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), cancelled and such a person may not be entitled to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C for the period of 3 years from the occurrence of that condition.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it also needs to be noted that, on 18 November 2010, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition, which came into force on 1 March 2011 and which set forth the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) in a new wording.

7.1. Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 18 November 2010) prescribes:

“2. A person shall not be regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if:

1) by an effective court judgement he has been recognised as guilty of an intentional violent crime for the commission of which the greatest punishment provided for by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter also referred to as the Criminal Code) exceeds 3 years of deprivation of freedom;

2) by an effective court judgement he has been recognised as guilty of a crime for the commission of which the greatest punishment provided for by the Criminal Code exceeds 3 years of deprivation of freedom and which he committed under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances;

3) by an effective court judgement he has been recognised as guilty of a crime for the commission of which the greatest punishment provided for by the Criminal Code exceeds 3 years of deprivation of freedom and which was committed by using explosives, explosive materials or firearms;

4) by an effective court judgement he has been recognised as guilty of a crime related to possession of weapons, ammunition, explosives, explosive or radioactive materials or military equipment, for the commission of which the greatest punishment provided for by the Criminal Code exceeds 3 years of deprivation of freedom; <...>

6) during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for the crimes specified in Items 1–4 of this Paragraph on bail, or upon reconciliation with the victim, or on the basis of mitigating circumstances; <...>.”

Having compared the legal regulation consolidated in Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 18 November 2010) with the one consolidated in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it is clear that the legal regulation has, in the aspect relevant to the constitutional justice case at issue, changed in substance—the legislator has established the condition upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, by specifying for the commission of what crimes a person released from criminal liability according to the established procedure is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute.

It needs to be noted that, under the legal regulation consolidated in the Law (wording of 18 November 2010), the crimes for the commission of which a person released from criminal liability according to the established procedure upon reconciliation with the victim is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute must be only such ones for the commission of which the greatest punishment provided for by the Criminal Code exceeds 3 years of deprivation of freedom, and they must include only intentional violent crimes or crimes committed under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances, crimes committed by using explosives, explosive materials or firearms, or crimes related to possession of weapons, ammunition, explosives, explosive or radioactive materials or military equipment.

7.2. Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 18 November 2010) prescribes:

“1. Permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C shall be cancelled: <...>

5) upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Items 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17 and/or Paragraph 2 of Article 18, except Item 8 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18; <...>.”

After comparing the legal regulation consolidated in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 18 November 2010) with the one consolidated in Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), it is clear that the impugned legal regulation has, in the aspect under consideration in the constitutional justice case at issue, remained unchanged.

Thus, under Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 18 November 2010), permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence inter alia of the conditions established in Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 18 November 2010), i.e. where the person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute due to the fact that during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed crime specified in the law inter alia upon reconciliation with the victim.

7.3. The provisions of Item 6 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 and Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 18 November 2010) are not a matter of investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue.

III

On the compliance of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) and Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue, subsequent to the petitioner’s petition, the Constitutional Court will investigate whether Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. In this context it needs to be noted that the official constitutional doctrine relating to a state under the rule of law, the right to apply to court and the function of courts to administer justice has been formulated and developed in various Constitutional Court’s acts.

2.1. Paragraph 1 of Article 30 of the Constitution prescribes: “The person whose constitutional rights or freedoms are violated shall have the right to apply to court.”

The Constitutional Court has held that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as other provisions of the Constitution, gives rise to an imperative whereby a person who believes that his rights or freedoms have been violated has an absolute right to an independent and impartial court, which would resolve the dispute. The person’s right to apply to court also implies his right to due legal process and it is an essential condition for the implementation of justice (inter alia the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 December 2004).

2.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution prescribes: “In the Republic of Lithuania, justice shall be administered only by courts.”

2.2.1. The principle of justice enshrined in the Constitution, as well as the provision that justice is administered solely by courts, means that it is not the adoption of a decision in a court, but rather the adoption of a just court decision that is a constitutional value; the constitutional concept of justice implies not only formal and nominal justice administered by a court, not only an outward appearance of justice administered by a court, but, most importantly, such court decisions (other final acts of the court) that are not unjust by their content (inter alia the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 21 September 2006, 24 October 2007, 21 January 2008 and 10 April 2009).

The Constitutional Court has also held that the justice administered by a court only formally is not the justice that is consolidated in and protected and defended by the Constitution; that, when adopting a decision in a case, a court must always follow the laws and law, inter alia the principles of justice, reasonableness, proportionality and fairness, which stem from the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 15 March 2008).

2.2.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution is inseparably linked with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 of the Constitution, which consolidates a person’s right to apply to court regarding the defence of his violated rights or freedoms, with the principle of a state under the rule of law, which is enshrined in the Constitution, and with a person’s innate right to justice (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 2 July 2002).

2.2.3. In the constitutional justice case under consideration the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution are to be construed together with other provisions of the Constitution, inter alia those of Paragraph 3 of Article 109 thereof.

Paragraph 3 of Article 109 of the Constitution prescribes: “When considering cases, judges shall obey only the law.”

In this context it needs to be noted that the imperative consolidated in Paragraph 3 of Article 109 of the Constitution, whereby, when considering cases, judges obey only the law, must be understood not literally, but it is to be construed in an expanded manner, as encompassing the requirement in administering justice to observe law—the Constitution, laws, etc.

2.2.4. The provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution are also to be construed in the context of the provisions of Article 110.

Article 110 of the Constitution prescribes:

“A judge may not apply a law, which is in conflict with the Constitution.

In cases when there are grounds to believe that the law or other legal act which should be applied in a concrete case is in conflict with the Constitution, the judge shall suspend the consideration of the case and shall apply to the Constitutional Court requesting it to decide whether the law or other legal act in question is in compliance with the Constitution.”

In this context it needs to be noted that, while construing the provisions of Article 110 of the Constitution, in its ruling of 24 October 2007, the Constitutional Court inter alia held that:

– one of the essential elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law, which is consolidated in the Constitution, is the principle that one should not apply any legal act that is in conflict with a legal act of higher power;

– upon establishing, in Article 110 of the Constitution, a prohibition to apply a law that is in conflict with the Constitution and a duty of a court considering a case, in the event of doubts whether the law or other legal act applicable in the case is not in conflict with the Constitution, to suspend the consideration of the case and apply to the Constitutional Court requesting it to decide whether the law or other legal act in question is in compliance with the Constitution, one seeks to attain a situation where a corresponding legal act (part thereof) that is in conflict with the Constitution is not applied, where no anti-constitutional legal effects appear due to the application of the said legal act (part thereof) and where no rights of a person are violated and a person in whose regard a legal act inconsistent with the Constitution or the law has been applied does not, due to that, unreasonably acquire any rights or corresponding legal status that do not belong to him;

– if the court, after it has faced doubts as regards the compliance of the law applicable in the case with the Constitution, did not suspend the consideration of the case and did not apply to the Constitutional Court so that those doubts could be removed, and if the legal act the compliance of which with the Constitution is doubtful was applied in the case, the court would take a risk to adopt such a decision that would not be a just one.

2.2.5. Thus, under Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution, a court, while administering justice, must observe law—the Constitution, laws, etc., and it must adopt just decisions by taking account of the circumstances of the case, whereas, in the event of doubts as regards the compliance of the applicable legal act with the Constitution, it must apply to the Constitutional Court so that those doubts would be removed.

2.3. The constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is especially capacious; it comprises a range of various interrelated imperatives (inter alia the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 29 December 2004).

2.3.1. A person’s right to apply to court is an inseparable element of the contents of the principle of a state under the rule of law and an essential condition for the implementation of justice (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 17 March 2003). The principle of a state under the rule of law, which is consolidated in the Constitution, is inseparable from the imperative of justice (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 17 November 2003).

2.3.2. The Constitutional Court, while construing inter alia the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, has noted that, under the Constitution, the legislator has a duty to establish such legal regulation so that the measures that are established in legal acts and that are applied would be proportionate to the objective sought and would not limit a person’s rights more than necessary in order to attain the legitimate and commonly significant objective (inter alia the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 31 January 2011).

2.3.3. It needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court has held more than once that legal certainty and legal clarity are also one of the essential elements of the principle of a state under the rule of law, consolidated in the Constitution. The imperative of legal certainty and legal clarity implies certain obligatory requirements for legal regulation: it must be clear and harmonious, legal norms must be formulated precisely and they may not contain any ambiguities (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 May 2003, 26 January 2004, 24 December 2008 and 22 June 2009, the decision of 20 April 2010 and the ruling of 13 May 2010).

  1. It also needs to be emphasised that the Constitutional Court has noted that, under the Constitution, the institutions of state power and governance are under an obligation to ensure the safety of the public and public order, to protect a person against any attempt on his life and health and to defend human rights and freedoms. Weapons and ammunition may be a danger to public order and the safety of the public, to human life and health, therefore, the legislator, while taking account of the necessity to ensure public order and the safety of the public and to protect human rights and freedoms, is empowered to establish the conditions and procedure for the entry of weapons and ammunition into the civil circulation and for holding and using them as well as for issuing permits to acquire a weapon (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 12 April 2001).

It needs to be noted that weapons and ammunition may be a danger not only to a person possessing weapons and ammunition himself, but to other members of the public and public order as well, therefore, the legislator has a duty to establish such conditions and procedure for the entry of weapons and ammunition into the civil circulation and for holding and using them as well as for issuing and cancelling permits to acquire a weapon that would create the preconditions to protect a person possessing weapons and ammunition as well as other members of the public against a possible threat and to ensure public order. In discharging the said duty and while exercising broad discretion, the legislator is under an obligation to observe the Constitution, inter alia when establishing the measures limiting the right to acquire and possess respective weapons and ammunition, which is granted to a person under the conditions and procedure consolidated in the law, it must heed the principle of proportionality.

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court is investigating whether Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, was not in conflict inter alia with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. It has been mentioned that Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 “Cancellation of Permits to Carry and Permits to Hold Weapons and Ammunition” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) prescribed:

“1. Permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C shall be cancelled: <...>

5) upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Items 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17 and Paragraph 2 of Article 18, except Item 7, of this Law.”

  1. While investigating the compliance of Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which permits to carry and permits to hold weapons classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of inter alia the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law, under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it is important to assess as to whether the legislator could, without violating the provisions of the Constitution, link the aforesaid condition, upon the occurrence of which permits to carry and permits to hold weapons classified in Categories B and C are cancelled, to all negligent crimes.
  2. When deciding as regards the compliance of the legal regulation consolidated in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) to the specified extent with the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, as mentioned before:

– weapons and ammunition may be a danger not only to a person possessing weapons and ammunition himself, but to other members of the public and public order as well, therefore, the legislator has a duty to establish such conditions and procedure for the entry of weapons and ammunition into civil circulation and for holding and using them as well as for issuing and cancelling permits to acquire a weapon that would create the preconditions to protect a person possessing weapons and ammunition as well as other members of the public against a possible threat and to ensure public order; in discharging the said duty and while exercising broad discretion, the legislator is under an obligation to observe the Constitution, inter alia when establishing the measures limiting the right to acquire and possess respective weapons and ammunition, which is granted to a person under the conditions and procedure consolidated in the law, it must heed the principle of proportionality;

– the constitutional principle of proportionality is one of the elements of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law; the legislator has a duty to establish such legal regulation so that the measures that are established in legal acts and that are applied would be proportionate to the objective sought, would not limit the rights of a person more than necessary in order to attain the legitimate and commonly significant objective and would not create any pre-conditions to abuse law.

7.1. It has been mentioned that the condition of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, was established without any differentiation of negligent crimes, having committed which a person who has been released from criminal liability according to the established procedure is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, although, under the legal regulation consolidated by the legislator in the CC, negligent crimes vary in dangerousness, inter alia in the features qualifying them, as, for instance, negligent crimes may be committed by persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or other psychoactive substances, for the commission of them the law may provide for inter alia differentiated punishment with fixed-term deprivation of freedom, and they may be committed through different type of negligence as a form of guilt.

It has also been mentioned that, once a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, he may not be entitled to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C, whereas where such a right has been granted and a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C have been issued, such permits must be cancelled.

It needs to be noted that the condition of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), upon the occurrence of which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute, was established without differentiating negligent crimes in terms of dangerousness.

7.2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that in order the measures applicable on the grounds of the condition consolidated in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) would be proportionate to the sought objective of ensuring the safety of the public and public order and protecting a person possessing weapons and ammunition himself against a threat, that condition had to be linked to such negligent crimes that, by taking account of inter alia the features qualifying them or the circumstances of committing the deed, as, for instance, the commission of negligent crimes while being under the influence of alcohol, being intoxicated with narcotic, psychotropic or other intoxicating substances, would indicate that a person who has committed them and who is entitled to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C poses, because of that acquired right, a threat to the public, to public order or to himself, and would constitute the sufficient grounds to limit the said right, acquired by the person who has committed them, and to cancel a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C that have been issued to that person.

Otherwise, by linking the cancellation of permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C to any negligent crimes not differentiated in terms of dangerousness under the indicated legal regulation, one creates the preconditions to apply the measures limiting the entitlement to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C that are disproportionate to the sought objective of ensuring the safety of the public and public order and protecting a person possessing weapons and ammunition himself against a threat.

7.3. Thus, the condition of Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), while being linked to all negligent crimes, equally embraced those negligent crimes that were sufficient grounds to limit the entitlement of a person who committed them to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C and to cancel a permit to carry and a permit to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C issued to that person as well as those negligent crimes that did not constitute any such grounds.

7.4. The legal regulation consolidated in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for the commission of a negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, insofar as the condition established therein was linked to all negligent crimes without differentiating them in terms of dangerousness, created the preconditions to disproportionately limit the person’s entitlement, granted under the conditions and the procedure consolidated in the law, to acquire and possess weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C.

7.5. A conclusion is to be drawn that Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, insofar as that condition was linked to all negligent crimes without differentiating them in terms of dangerousness, was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue, subsequent to the petitioner’s petition, the Constitutional Court is investigating whether Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. It has been mentioned that Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 “Cancellation of Permits to Carry and Permits to Hold Weapons and Ammunition” of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) prescribed:

“1. Permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C shall be cancelled: <...>

5) upon the occurrence of the conditions referred to in Items 3, 4, 5, 8 and 10 of Paragraph 1 of Article 17 and Paragraph 2 of Article 18, except Item 7, of this Law.”

  1. It has also been mentioned that the legislator consolidated in Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) the legal regulation under which permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the conditions consolidated inter alia in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), due to which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute.
  2. It has been held in this ruling that Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, insofar as that condition was linked to all negligent crimes without differentiating them in terms of dangerousness, was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

In this context it needs to be noted that the legal regulation consolidated in Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), which is impugned by the petitioner, is linked to the legal regulation consolidated in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) so that Paragraph 2 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Article 18 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), inter alia Item 4 thereof, provides for the conditions upon the occurrence of which permits to carry and permits to hold weapons classified in Categories B and C are cancelled pursuant to Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002).

  1. Thus, having held that Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002) was, to the specified extent, in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it also needs to be held that Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition provided for in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, insofar as that condition was linked to all negligent crimes without differentiating them in terms of dangerousness, was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. A conclusion is to be drawn that Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, insofar as that condition was linked to all negligent crimes without differentiating them in terms of dangerousness, was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  3. Having held that, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), insofar as it prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 30 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55 and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

ruling:

  1. To recognise that Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 135-5452) of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition (wording of 15 January 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 13-467), insofar as it prescribed that a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, insofar as that condition was linked to all negligent crimes without differentiating them in terms of dangerousness, was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. To recognise that Item 5 (wording of 4 December 2007; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 135-5452) of Paragraph 1 of Article 40 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on the Control of Weapons and Ammunition (wording of 15 January 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 13-467), insofar as it prescribed that permits to carry and permits to hold weapons and ammunition classified in Categories B and C are cancelled upon the occurrence of the condition referred to in Item 4 of Paragraph 2 of Article 18 (wording of 4 December 2007; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 135-5452) of the Law (wording of 15 January 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 13-467), under which a person is not regarded as a person of sufficiently good repute if, during the last 3 years, by a court’s decision, he has been released from criminal liability for a committed negligent crime upon reconciliation with the victim, insofar as that condition was linked to all negligent crimes without differentiating them in terms of dangerousness, was in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                    Egidijus Bieliūnas

                                                                                                        Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                                        Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                                        Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                                        Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                                        Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

                                                                                                        Dainius Žalimas