HITC delve into the gun laws and regulations in Norway and explain the legalities of citizens and police officers carrying firearms within the country.
Police Chief, Oeyvind Aas told reporters: “The man used a bow and arrow… for some of the attacks” and the police are currently investigating whether other weapons had also been used.
Are guns banned in Norway?
In Norway, citizens are allowed to keep firearms which are commonly used for hunting and sports shooting. However, the acquisition and storage of guns are regulated by the state through strict gun control laws.
It is only possible to obtain permission to own a firearm by having officially documented the use of the gun with the local police. Individuals also have to take extensive training related to the intended use of the weapon.
Interestingly, Norway is in the top ten countries in the world that have the most guns owned per capita as the country sits in tenth place with around 31 guns per 100 residents.
New regulations for semi-automatic firearms
In 2011, the mass shooting by right-wing extremist Anders Breivik which left 69 people dead led to new regulations for semi-automatic firearms.
Later this year, Norway plans to ban all semi-automatic firearms from the Scandinavian country. In specific, owners of these weapons would be required by law to hand them over to the government and sales of this particular type of firearm would also be prohibited in future.
It is estimated that this change in the law will affect 2,000 gun owners in the country. However, there will be several exemptions which include hunting and shooting sports.
Unarmed police officers ordered to carry guns
It has been reported that unarmed police officers have been ordered to carry guns as a precautionary measure after the bow-and-arrow attack that occurred in Kongsberg.
Typically Norweigan law enforcement officers are unarmed but have access to guns and rifles in particular circumstances. However, officers are not allowed to shoot a gun unless they receive permission from senior officials.
In a statement, the Police Directorate said: “This is an extra precaution. The police have no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level.”