Police want stricter gun control

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Calls are going out for stricter gun regulation and changes to the Norwegian criminal code after the terrorist attacks on Oslo and Utøya, with police, politicians and academics welcoming a debate. When such a debate will be able to occur is more uncertain, with the American police chief in charge of the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombings warning Norwegians not to be overly critical of police or emergency services at this early stage.

Police in Norway are set to ask for stronger regulation of gun ownership. PHOTO: Politi

The police have expressed a clear desire to boost gun control as part of an ongoing review of weapons regulations. Meanwhile, politicians from all parties represented in Parliament are keen to debate expected proposals to lengthen allowable prison terms and toughen other aspects of the penal code.

Gun rules could be tightened
The Norwegian police are keen to strengthen gun regulation following the attack. A committee set up by the Justice Department last year already has been asked to come forth with suggestions for stricter rules regarding gun ownership by December this year. According to police figures, there are currently 1,229,436 registered guns owned by 484,298 people in the country, many for hunting purposes and also because many Norwegians are registered for civil defense duty or are in the military reserves.

A semi-automatic Ruger Mini-14 rifle – described by Anders Behring Breivik in his online manifesto as “the most military-like rifle that is allowed in Norway” – is legal for hunting purposes after a hunting licensing test and with police approval. Around 500,000 hunters are registered in the country. It has not yet been confirmed whether Breivik had this particular type of rifle during the shootings themselves, but police have admitted that a semi-automatic weapon was used. The suspect may have bought such a weapon illegally abroad but even if he had purchased it in Norway, it is believed that he could have modified it illegally. In any case, police director Øystein Mæland has told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that “based on the potential to harm that this type of weapon has, we want a tightening of the rules in relation to this weapon for civilians.” Breivik also had access to a Glock pistol by virtue of his membership in a pistol club, but it is also not yet known whether this weapon was actually used during the shootings.

Ragnhild Bjørnebekk of the Norwegian Police University College told newspaper Bergens Tidende that she felt Norwegian law was sufficient in relation to weapons purposes, but that “better routines” were needed “in order to make the police aware of people with such serious psychological problems that they can hurt themselves or others.” Hunters or other licensed shooters who have fallen inactive should be followed up more closely, she added.

A meeting of EU officials over the weekend also discussed measures for improving gun control. Minister of Justice Knut Storberget of the Labour Party supports efforts to improve such regulations, stating to NRK that “the current weapon law was written in a different time and it is time to adapt the regulations to today’s society and not least take into account future challenges.”

Debate on sentencing welcomed
Other changes are likely to be proposed for the country’s penal code. An opinion poll for newspaper VG shows that 65.5 percent of Norwegians feel the level of punishment for “the most serious offenses” is “too low,” and politicians have already reacted to the figures.

Minister of Justice Storberget told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv that “there is debate to be had” on prison sentences and other issues regarding criminal justice. Opposition parties agreed, with Per Sandberg of the Progress Party telling newspaper Klassekampen that “the majority out there are familiar with the party’s view of the Norwegian penal code” and that he is “certain” that the debate on the issue will return with “greater force than ever after what has happened.”

Jenny Klinge, a representative of the Center Party (part of the governing coalition), told Klassekampen that she was interested in looking at a new law regarding mass murder that will allow for life sentences, even as she admitted that it was likely that Breivik would remain in custody for life through “forvaring,” which effectively allows renewal of maximum 21-year sentences consecutively. The Socialist Left Party, another member of the governing coalition, also welcomed a debate on the issue, with Akhtar Chaudry, a vice-president of parliament and member of its justice committee, describing such a debate as “completely natural” after the terrorist attacks, adding that his party would be interested “to see how rehabilitation can be included as part of serving a prison sentence.”

Too soon to debate
Other countries in Europe have been far quicker to suggest changes to the law than Norway in the aftermath of the events in Oslo and Utøya. In Denmark especially, several proposals have already been made by political parties regarding weapon ownership, internet extremism and the purchase of fertilizers. One Norwegian expert, Frank Aarebrot, told Aftenposten that he believes such a debate will be unlikely in Norway until the commission reviewing the terrorist attacks has reported back, which could take a year. Aarebrot nonetheless suggests that the debate will include a discussion of the use of hidden surveillance.

Commenting on the upcoming local elections, Aarebrot believes that such issues, and the issue of immigration, will “lie far down” on the list of acceptable discussion topics. Attitudes to immigration in particular have undergone a “quantum leap” after the country had experienced such a “nation-building event,” the researcher said, adding that this represents a “test” to the “discipline” of the anti-immigration Progress Party in particular.

Oklahoma police chief: ‘Be constructive’
Meanwhile, a police spokesperson at the time of the Oklahoma bombings in the USA, Bill Citty (now Oklahoma’s police chief), has warned Norwegians not to be “overly critical towards emergency services or blame particular people” in the aftermath of the attacks. Citty told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Tuesday that such criticism can be counter-productive, while Oklahoma City’s former fire chief, Gary Marrs, agreed that emergency personnel need support instead.

A commission has already been announced by the government to review what happened during the attacks, but criticism has been raised over why Breivik was not apprehended beforehand, the length of time it took police to reach Utøya, the lack of a police helicopter capable of transporting combat personnel, the problems of finding a boat to transport officers to Utøya, and communication problems between police and other emergency services.

Citty concluded that Norwegians must “be constructive.” Marrs said “the people in Norway” should understand  that those who responded to the crisis don’t need to be hit with accusations now. “They need need support, and they’ll need it for a long time ahead,” he said.

Views and News from Norway/Aled-Dilwyn Fisher
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  • IdahoMan

    Who cares what the police want. Their job is supposed to be to support your rights and to back you up; how dare they actively work against them.

    I am SICK to DEATH of the police continually whining about how our rights are always in their way; how if they don’t have control of everything then the “bad guys” win. These police don’t serve the public, they serve themselves and the state they work for. If they cared about you they would humbly be pointing out that you have a right to Keep and Bear Arms/to defend yourself, and suggesting ways of learning the proper use of modern tools for defense of person/family/property/liberty.

    Gun-Control: The tool of predators to disarm their prey for an easier target.

    History teaches that lesson. Where people are disarmed they are open to predators who won’t disarm. That predator could be your common street-thug, a wicked man like Breivik, and one’s on government(think about that next time you think the “authorities” should be the only-ones to have the monopoly on firepower -see JPFO).

    Ignorance kills. It’s a shame to see the whole world becoming brainwashed by the same collectivist/socialist lies that killed so many millions in the last century alone.

    Get rid of your gun-laws and respect a person’s basic human rights.

    • Neil

      Thousands of people are killed each year by guns in the US compared to around 50 in the UK where there are gun controls. Even if you scale up the UK figure to account for the larger population of the US, that figure would increase to around 250.

      Clearly gun control reduces the number of gun deaths. It’s not perfect but it’s better than the alternative.

      • IdahoMan

        “There are lies, damned lies, and then there statistics.” -Mark Twain

        I am not even going to look at your statistics Neil. Irrelevant.
        Gun-Control is WRONG.
        It is wrong. It is NOTHING more than the tool of evil people/governments to disarm people. That is the issue here: Tyranny.

        Here in the US, enemy #1 is not whatever fictional “terrorist threat” the Politically-Correct(PC) comes up with -it is our government. It isn’t even the government anymore, it is an out-of-control, illegal, thieving, criminal enterprise…
        They let terror/crime happen(or create non-existent problems), tie people’s hands behind their back with such things as “Gun Control”, then proceed to go on and on and on about how they need to have police-powers and want more of our rights restricted.

        And do they use their new god-like/elitist status and “Only Ones”(Google it) powers to help us? No, they use it AGAINST us. And why should that be a surprise? They very fact they are so quick seek such a course should have been the red-flag itself.

        Atrocities like this are another example:
        Our founding fathers knew realized all this, so they wanted to make darn sure government was severely restricted and people’s rights highly revered.

      • Joe

        Correlation does not imply causation. England’s violent crime rate is around four times as high as the violent crime rate in the US. Does that necessarily mean it is because of gun ownership or a lack thereof? By using your logic, I could make that argument and claim that gun control in the UK is the exact cause of such a high rate of violent crime. While I’m sure that does play into it, more likely there are a number of various reasons why such a higher rate exists in the UK.

      • Dustin

        Murders by stabbings, beatings, and bludgeoning are higher in the UK than in the US. Pychopaths and Sociopaths enjoy using the tools at their disposal, despite “reasonable controls”, reasonable controls being a total ban on guns in the UK.

  • GB

    Gun control might serve, but the devil is in the details and how they exactly plan on keeping guns out of perps’ hands.

    It seems to me that if you make guns illegal, criminals intent on murder or armed assaults would still be able to get them because they would be willing to break the law anyways. I mean, Breivik was intent on mass murder, so I doubt a little thing like a gun control law would have gotten in the way.

    Then I am reminded the NRA arguments about a bad guy showing up with a gun and you basically standing unarmed. What do you do? Perhaps if they had had armed security at a meeting of extremely high level officials, the first gun shots would have been met by a kill shot to take out the sniper.

    • IdahoMan

      “..but the devil is in the details and how they exactly plan on keeping guns out of perps’ hands.”

      That’s just it. They shouldn’t be “keeping guns out of perps hands”, because the perp isn’t a perp until he goes about the criminal action itself.

      Gun access should be a non-issue. You don’t engage in “pre-crime”, you punish people for committing ACTUAL crimes(assault/murder/theft). That’s it.

      Here in Idaho, you can get them in the private section of the newspaper: You look it up, drive to the person’s house, and buy it. That’s the way it should be for all gun-sales. There should be no FFL dealers.

      It’s amazing what lengths the anti-gun types will go through to avoid the obvious. They’d rather live in a society where the government has ultimate power to detain/arrest/hold anyone for any suspicion -or lack thereof- because they might/could(let the Ministry of Love’s “studies” decide) be on the verge of committing a violent act, rather than just realize a person’s right to defend oneself with a firearm.

      These massacres happened in “Gun-Free” zones BTW (VT, Columbine, Utoya).

  • Ken H

    I don’t think anyone wants to criticize the police as they probably did the best they could given the circumstances. However, a helicopter and a trained swat team would have been helpful in this instance. I would wager the police would agree with me but the Socialist Workers Party would not.

  • Vlad

    Yeah, after arriving 1.5 hours late, police wants “gun control.” Jerks. Sorry, but there is no better word for people who failed to protect disarmed citizens from a maniac and now pushing for more words on paper. With 90 minutes response time, 300 years old musket would do the damage or even bow and arrows.

  • Geoffrey Stokes

    Like other mass shootings in the some nations victims are helpless to stop the carnage. Nations that don’t allow its citizens to carry firearms for individual self defense risk these situations. If Norway changed its laws to allow Concealed Carry Permits, a lawful gun owner could stop a gunperson from continuing to shoot innocent people. I am living in a country that doesn’t allow self defense with a firearm in one’s home let alone in the hinterland. People have gone to their deaths, in their own homes during a home invasion because of no access to a firearm. If only one percent of a country’s population carried a concealed handgun in public, the chances are greater that an errant gunpersons deadly action could be neutralized quickly.