Police Count About 70,000 Registered Firearms In Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Police Count About 70,000 Registered Firearms In Iceland

Published September 17, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photo by
Wikimedia Commons

New gun registrations have been fairly modest this year, according to data gathered by the police, taking the total number of registered firearms in Iceland to about 70,000.

According to their findings, 394 shotguns were registered in Iceland from January to July of this year. At the same time, 785 rifles and 208 handguns were also registered. In total, the police count just under 40,000 shotguns, just over 25,000 rifles, and about 3,600 handguns registered in Iceland as of July 2019.

Iceland has notoriously strict gun laws. As we detailed in 2017, prospective gun owners must clear the following steps in order to own a gun:

“In order to get a gun and a hunting licence, Icelanders have to do paperwork for the police, the magistrate, and even the Environment Agency of Iceland. Prospective gun owners need to prove they have no criminal record. They need to be evaluated by a doctor to prove they are of sound mind and have good enough eyesight. They have to buy and read two books, attend a three-day course and score at least 75% on exams regarding gun safety, management, what animals are allowed to be hunted and when, and so on. Then there’s a practical exam to prove they know how to handle a gun safely. Once Icelanders finally have their licence, they need to prove they have a gun safe to lock the weapons in, plus a separate place away from the gun safe to lock the ammunition.”

Despite this, Iceland not only has about the same percentage of gun ownership as the United States; it also has far fewer incidences of gun related violent crimes. From 2005 to 2012, anywhere from 58% to 61% of violent deaths in the US were related to guns—in Iceland, that same percentage over the same period was zero.

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