Interesting news from Finland

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by neothespian, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. neothespian

    neothespian Member

    Finland defends gun laws

    By JARI TANNER, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 9, 5:15 PM ET

    HELSINKI, Finland - A teenage killer's deadly school rampage has put Finns on the defensive about their relationship to guns.

    With 1.6 million firearms in private hands, the Nordic nation is an anomaly in Europe, lagging behind only the U.S. and Yemen in civilian gun ownership, studies show.

    The government said Friday it would raise the minimum age for buying guns from 15 to 18, but insisted there was no need for sweeping changes to gun laws shaped by deep-rooted traditions of hunting in the sub-Arctic wilderness.

    "If you look at the rate of homicides with firearms (in Finland), the figure is very low," Interior Ministry spokesman Ilkka Salmi said. "People using guns are hunters. They live in rural areas. It's part of the life over there."

    According to a government study in 2002, 14 percent of homicides in Finland are gun-related.

    International gun control activists have urged the Finns to rethink their laws in the wake of Wednesday's tragedy.

    Finns are sensitive to their international image, and often complain their country is portrayed as a gloomy northern outpost of Europe, where long dark winters drive people to binge drinking, suicide or random outbursts of violence.

    Wednesday's bloodshed did little to help. Pekka-Eric Auvinen, described by police as a bullied 18-year-old outcast, opened fire at his high school in southern Finland. He killed six students, a school nurse and the principal before ending his own life with a gunshot to the head.

    "There are all kinds of people living in Finland, like everywhere else," said Tero Aaltonen, a customer in a Helsinki gun shop. "But I rather think it's the influence of the media and all the things people are exposed to that might make someone do a thing like that."

    Auvinen, who had no previous criminal record and belonged to a shooting club in central Helsinki, shot the victims with a .22-caliber pistol that he bought from a local gun store days before the attack.

    Police revealed Friday that Auvinen had settled for the pistol after being denied a license for a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.

    "The application was rejected because a 9 mm gun is considered too powerful ... for target practice shooting," Detective Superintendent Tero Haapala told The Associated Press. "He was recommended to get a .22-caliber gun."

    After Wednesday's shooting drew international attention to Finland's gun culture, the Interior Ministry issued a statement saying firearm sales were "strictly controlled."

    Before granting a weapons permit, police "assess the applicant's suitability to posses a firearm, his or her way of life, behavior and possible mental health problems," the statement said. Applicants must prove also they have a legitimate need for a gun, such as hunting or target practice. Self-defense is not a valid reason.

    Following the school shooting, police found Internet postings by Auvinen that seemed to predict the massacre.

    Gun control activists said the shooting at the Jokela High School in Tuusula, some 30 miles north of Helsinki, proved the need for stricter gun laws in Finland.

    "Compared to other European countries, Finland has a serious gun problem," said Rebecca Peters, director of the London-based International Action Network on Small Arms.

    Finland has some 650,000 licensed gun owners, about 13 percent of the population of 5.2 million, many of them hunters, the Interior Ministry said.

    "Almost every Finnish family has a hunting gun at home," said William Wadstein, a gun shop owner in Helsinki. "We are used to seeing guns."

    He added that Finnish children are brought up knowing that guns are not toys: "Guns are very, very dangerous things. They are used for hunting, not murdering."

    Studies by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey rank the country third in the world in civilian gun ownership. In Europe, only Switzerland comes close — and each member of Switzerland's militia army is allowed to keep his gun after completing military service.

    Efforts to tighten gun control started some years ago, led by left-wing and pacifist groups. But the anti-gun lobby in Finland is weak, and the country has been known to defend its traditions of widespread gun ownership in the European Union.

    Finland had previously insisted on keeping an age limit of 15 years for gun purchases in discussions with other EU nations about common rules on firearms.

    But a government committee proposed changing the law Friday to prohibit minors from buying guns, although they would still be allowed to use them under parental supervision, the Interior Ministry said.

    "It's obvious that this kind of tragic incident has probably sped up the decision," Salmi said.

    He noted, however, that the change could not have prevented Wednesday's massacre: Auvinen was 18.


    Associated Press writers Tomislav Skaro in Helsinki, Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Sweden, and Bradley Klapper in Geneva contributed to this report.

    (This version CORRECTS that Auvinen did not have a hunting permit.)
  2. elguapo

    elguapo Guest

    Good post neo. Nice to see a bastion of full-sack-having-people still over there.

  3. Chef Dennis

    Chef Dennis Guest

    Every good post Neo. Too bad the Brady bunch doesn't think that way, we would have a much better gun climate here if all of the anti's were of that mentality. :?
  4. Great post NEO. It'll be interesting to see how that holds up over time.
  5. Silicon Wolverine

    Silicon Wolverine Well-Known Member

    Yemen has a higher gun ownership ratio than europe? Than agian when you live a couple undred miles form somalia and border saudi arabia id want some serious firepower too.

  6. Deleted double post Silicon Wolverine.

    As far as the Finns go, it's good that they have that kind of mentality. The USA has a historical tradition for hunting, but we also have the stigma of the Wild West. Most European countries view the USA and gun ownership with the Wild West in mind. I've actually had a couple of our German Air Force guys that are stationed here at Holloman as me about it. Usually they think that we are "gunslingers" and everyone walks around with a revolver on a drop belt with the loops filled with ammo.

    Anyway, good for the Finns, the problem isn't the gun, the problem is what's going on between the idiot's ears that has the gun.
  7. And to carry on from where primal just left off...

    You just gotta wonder what is so wrong with some peoples lives that they are driven to these insane acts. After the Columbine incident I was left thinking that if those kids had something positive to do with them selves, some positive purpose in life (military? church? art society? karate club?the boy scouts even!) then they wouldn't have felt alienated and become so hateful.

    It may sound too simplistic but maybe playing shoot'em'up computer games 8 hours a day in a dark bedroom listening to MegaDeath music isn't a healthy thing. And look what's on TV... Every second show is a CSI type show where cutting up dead bodies is a cool thing. Personally i think all forms of media have to tone down on this. All things in moderation. Less exposure to destructive media and more time actually gaining positive life experience.

    As for the Finnish kid, I guess we shouldn't be so suprised that a bullied kid will snap and lash out. presumably if he wasn't bullied, or had been taught/assisted to cope with it, he wouldn't have snapped.

    It's not about guns. Its about how people treat each other.

    Just my two cents worth.
  8. Uraijit

    Uraijit Guest

    True to form, they use this tragic incident to push another gun control law... A gun control law that would have done absolutely nothing to prevent it in the first place. The kid was 18 already... Why does this show that raising the age of gun ownership would be prudent?
  9. +1
  10. I'm not sure what the laws are but I think the guns shop owners need to look into everyone's eyes that they sell a gun to. I don't think it is enough to simply take all the "legal" steps, but we should give them the right to deny anyone that looks unstable. Maybe request that they talk to the local police before they sell it. It just seems like there needs to be a gut check on whether they are selling to a person that at least appears to be stable.
    I don't know, I'd just like to be sure we are doing everything we can to head off these things. End Rant.
  11. Uraijit

    Uraijit Guest

    Gun shops already have this right. They can refuse to sell to ANY customer, for ANY reason, or no reason at all. This doesn't mean that all shops PRACTICE this right. Unfortunately, there are those who will sell to anybody who is willing to throw down the cash, even if they have a pretty good idea that it's not for noble reasons.

    That said, the majority of guns purchased with the intent of committing crime, are not purchased in gun shops, but rather in private transactions, or "on the street".
  12. You know what gets me about this? It was a .22 pistol. Everyone looks at the .22 as a toy and no one looks at it as a self defense round in any way, shape or form.

    But this kid got how many kills out of one?