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Sweden launches new weapons amnesty

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Sweden launches new weapons amnesty
07:55 CET+01:00
Sweden on Friday commenced with its first weapons amnesty in more than five years, allowing anyone to turn illegal firearms in to police with no questions asked.

"From a law enforcement perspective, we are happy to have a new, temporary weapons amnesty underway," Detective Peter Thorsell of the legal division of the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen) said in a statement.

"Reducing illegal weapons possession is a very important measure for reducing gun violence."

According to the terms of the amnesty, which lasts from March 1st through May 31st, 2013, anyone can turn in a firearm or ammunition without the risk of being charged with illegal weapons possession.

To avoid prosecution, people must turn the weapons in voluntarily and police have agreed not to ask any questions or make inquiries as to the origins of the weapons.

The goal of the programme is to reduce the number of illegal weapons on Sweden's streets.

"Compared with licenced weapons, there is a much higher risk that illegal weapons will be misused or fall into the wrong hands," said Thorsell.

"These are firearms that are often stored improperly, tucked away or hidden in attics or sheds."

Police also hope the amnesty will prompt people with modified or homemade firearms to turn them in.

The last time Sweden carried out a weapons amnesty was in 2007, at which time roughly 13,000 firearms were turned in to police.

Following the amnesty, the weapons and ammunition collected by police will be destroyed.

TT/The Local/dl

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