Following Wednesday’s tragic shooting in Jokela , Finland, the licencing of weapons in Sweden is now being examined more closely.
Some 140,000 licences for single-handed weapons – pistols and revolvers – have been issued in Sweden. Police believe that every licence holder has around three firearms.
In addition, there are thought to be 5,000 to 10,000 illegal single-handed weapons in circulation in Sweden.
In order to get a gun licence, the individual must be a member of an approved gun club. There, enthusiasts are taught to shoot with the club’s weapons to begin with.
Before a formal licence can be obtained, individuals must have their shooting ability certified by their gun clubs. And they must be “trustworthy, sensible and law abiding”.
The majority of single-handed weapons are used for target shooting.
The handful of 15 to 17-year-olds who have weapons licences in Sweden attend rural schools where the hunting certificate is part of the curriculum.
In total there are 2,123,000 legal weapons in Sweden, owned by 638,000 licence holders. According to the National Police Board’s calculations, there are 40,000 illegal weapons in the country.