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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Riga Passes Latvians-Only Law

A new Latvian law will deny the right to use firearms in self-defense to most non-Latvians who live in the Baltic state, Itar-Tass reported.

The law, which is due to come into force May 1, will allow only Latvian citizens to use firearms to protect themselves and their property, the news agency said.

The law is the latest in a series to define the rights of Latvian citizens and noncitizens. After the republic gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Latvian citizenship was granted only to those whose families had lived in the republic before 1940.

Almost half the population of the former Soviet republic are not ethnic Latvians. Russians account for nearly a third of the population.