A policeman estimates that around 30.000 unregistered weapons are in circulation in Iceland reports Vísir. Additionally he believes that AK-47’s have been smuggled into the country in Russian trawlers.
“In Iceland there are about 73.000 registered weapons,” policeman Runólfur Þórhallsson wrote in a recent article for Lögreglublaðið (Police Magazine). “It’s believed that tens of thousands of weapons remain unregistered. Additionally several sources have told the police that Russian trawlers have been used to smuggle AK-47 machine guns into the country, which are much larger weapons than MP5’s.”
As reported, in October news broke of the arrival of 250 MP5 machine guns. While the Icelandic Coast Guard assumed these guns were a gift from the Norwegian government, the Norwegian government expected payment.
Traditionally, most police officers in Iceland serve unarmed, but are backed up, when needed, by Special Forces. The plan to equip the Icelandic police with submachine guns – especially in a country with practically zero gun crime – outraged Icelanders and was met with resistance.
According to Runólfur, policemen and women do not wish to carry guns – a sentiment shared by the Icelandic people – but he feels that in the event of an emergency it is necessary for the police to have access to weapons in order to protect the interests of Iceland’s citizens.
“No one in Iceland wants the police to carry weapons, neither the policemen nor citizens,” Runólfur wrote. “On the other hand we can’t stick our heads in the sand and hope for the best. The police has a legal obligation to protect its citizens. To ensure that the police can do their part they need to be able to protect themselves against armed criminals and mentally unstable individuals.”
Runólfur declined requests for an interview to discuss his article but underlined that the number of unregistered guns was an estimate and not officially confirmed.