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Gun laws may be tightened: minister

Gun laws may be tightened: minister

Published: 04 Jan 2012 10:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Jan 2012 10:40 GMT+01:00

Sweden's minister for justice, Beatrice Ask, says Swedish weapons laws will be looked over, after recent events in Malmö where five people have been shot within the space of a month.

”The previous report didn't see a reason to change the law. I am not happy with that and we are looking into it at the moment,” Ask told news agency TT.

The Chairman for the Committee on Justice, Social Democrat Morgan Johansson, has been demanding that Ask does something about the situation.

"This is really scary. It is about time now that the fight against organized crime becomes a national responsibility. This is not a local or regional issue," he said.

"The National Police Board has to be given more resources. There is currently 30 police officers working with this case. We have proposed an additional 100 million kronor ($14.6 million), which would mean that 130 officers can work with these questions."

Johansson also suggests to increase penalties for illegal possession of firearms from six months to one year in prison, which would make the crime serious enough in the eyes of the law for police to be allowed to use phone surveillance to catch suspects.

Beatrice Ask agrees that the latest rise in violence in the region is very serious and she agrees with Johansson that this is a national problem. However, she is not interested in the reorganisation of the Swedish police.

”We have a number of incidents when people have been gunned down on the streets of Malmö. It is important to focus on that situation and the concern experienced by Malmö residents. It is the long term work that is my main objective,” she said to TT.

A proposition for tougher weapons legislation in Sweden may see the light of day as soon as this spring, according to Ask. However, she was not willing to elaborate on what this may entail.

Swedish criminologist Jerzy Sarnecki believes two things are crucial in order to regain control of the crime wave in Malmö.

Short term, the authorities need to combat the widespread use of illegal firearms, and long term he suggests efforts such as those being made in Södertälje south of Stockholm.

"The community [in Södertälje] was totally right to put in large police resources, but also from the Tax Agency, the Social Insurance Agency and the Social Services Department. In Södertälje the situation, at least for the time being, has improved significantly."

Meanwhile, Malmö police are now receiving support from all over the country, according to local chief of police Eva Årestad.

”Malmö is Sweden's priority number one right now,” Årestad said to TT.

TT/The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:18 January 4, 2012 by mikewhite
The idiom in English is that laws are "tightened" - ie. made more restrictive.

Things that are metaphorically sharpened include 'wits', 'surveillance' and 'attention', also perhaps 'watchdog teeth' !
11:56 January 4, 2012 by blursd
Correct me if I'm wrong, but since when do criminals who would shoot people in the middle of street care about gun laws? You really think "tightening" gun laws is going to make one bit of difference to these people? I'm not saying everyone should have guns, but at the same time I hate to be the bearer of bad news ... if criminals want to get their hands on a gun they're going to find a way to do it ... regardless of how restrictive the laws on their possession may be.

News flash ... criminals don't care about laws.
12:01 January 4, 2012 by DAVID T
What's wrong with her face?
12:09 January 4, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
"criminals don't care about laws." - True, and it may well be that Swedish gun laws are already stringent.

Maybe a review needs to look at tackling a 'gun culture' among certain sectors of the community, and training specialist police units to deal with it (just for starters)

@ DAVID T - nothing wrong with her face: she's wondering how to answer a question Lol!
12:16 January 4, 2012 by KungsholmenGuy
@ blursd

Agree that criminals do not care about the law, but as stated in the article, a key provision is that the increase in the maximum penalty from 6 months to a year will permit the police to use secret phone surveillance to track criminals, and this should help reduce deaths from planned assassinations and planned armed robberies.

Criminals and idiots have lost all respect for the lives of the police as well. In the past few weeks there were two attempts to kill amred police officers with cars.

Increasing the number of police from 100 to 130 will simply add more targets. I woud use the budget for 30 extra police officers instead to hire 50 phone and internet surveillance people.
12:20 January 4, 2012 by Roy E
This is a classic case of treating a symptom of a problem in return for a false sense of security. But outside the imagination and in the real world, it's the criminals who benefit, confident that their law abiding victims are unable to adequately defend themselves.

Increasing the odds that a criminal will be successful is not the way to reduce crime. Future crime victims will have this naive minister to thank for their circumstance.
12:39 January 4, 2012 by flintis
This is what you get for letting all the INNOCENT refugees from war torn lands enter the country, you know, the ones who cannot prove their identity for various doubtful reason but have never ever committed so much as a sin.

There is even talk of a weapons amnesty, are they so naive to beleive these criminals will just handover their weapons??? The mind boggles.

Anyway, 5 down, if they keep it up Malmö will be a criminal free City by ?? no it won't because the naive morons keep letting in more INNOCENT refugees.
12:51 January 4, 2012 by GLO
Fools,

Fools,Fools fools, Just look what your leaders have done to Sweden!!!!

guns dont kills or rob... Look at the person holding the gun... You need to change the laws at the people causing the All the problems...

You cant bring people into your home from Failed cultures and expect anything different....
18:53 January 5, 2012 by mikewhite
"What's wrong with her face? " - she watched too much Gordon Ramsay ... alternatively she is prone to the Swedish custom of going red in the sun every summer, without any SPF lotion.
12:36 January 6, 2012 by caxton
Good to see Swedish politicians are just as dumb as UK ones. The UK has even more restrictive gun law than Sweden (though Swedes have to sit tests, but we don't) - no self-loading rifles over .22 calibre, no pistols or revolvers. Laws brought in in haste in reaction to incidents that shouldn't have happened if the police hadn't been asleep on the job. Criminal use of firearms continues unabated of course.
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