There have been a number of high profile shootings and instances of gang violence in Sweden during recent years, and police told the media at a press conference on Friday that they believe ease of access to weapons is a significant contributing factor to the problem.
“The idea with an amnesty is to reduce the number of illegal weapons in society. We know that these weapons are often a prerequisite for serious crime taking place,” Joakim Norenhag, the project leader of the amnesty, said.
Issues connected to the narcotics trade are the most common explanation for shootings in Sweden, police said.
During the last amnesty in 2013, more than 15,000 weapons were handed in, and it is hoped that as much as 10-13,000 could be handed in this time.
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Between February 1st and April 30th illegal and non-registered weapons can be handed in to the police in Sweden without the risk of punishment.
Aside from the most recent amnesty in 2014 there have been two others: one in 2007 when 13,000 firearms and 14 tonnes of ammunition were relinquished, and one in 1993 when 17,000 firearms and 15 tonnes of ammunition were handed in.
Around half of the weapons handed in during previous amnesties were hunting weapons, 30 percent were sidearms and 20 percent automatic weapons. They were all later destroyed.
The Swedish government has also proposed a further amnesty between October 2018 and January 2019 for grenades, in an effort to get the explosives off Sweden's streets following an increase in illegal use of them since 2015.
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