Last year Iceland saw 13 times more semi-automatic firearms imported into the country than in 2019. In the preceding four-year period, zero semi-automatic firearms were imported in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 two were imported, 2019 saw 19 imports and in 2020 that number sprang up to 252, Vísir reported.
180 of those weapons are legally, privately owned in Iceland.
Laws on gun ownership in Iceland
Gun ownership is strictly regulated in Iceland. Collectors must hold a firearms license for five years and maintain appropriate storage facilities for the weapons before they are allowed to apply for a collector’s permit—a necessity for obtaining semi-automatic weapons. Once a permit is received, the guns may be fired at approved shooting ranges.
There are many steps to obtain these licenses in Iceland. Paperwork must be completed for the police, a doctor must certify one to be of sound mind and good eyesight, they must have no criminal record and receive 75% on a test after reading two books and taking a three-day course, among other measures.
While it is legal to buy and sell firearms online in Iceland, the process itself goes through the police who ensure the buyer has applied for a permit and shown proof to the seller. A seller faces a revoked license and a fine if they sell weapons outside of the proper channels. The police follow the online sale of weapons closely.
A total of 70,000 firearms of various types were registered in Iceland as of 2019.
While Iceland has roughly the same percentage of gun ownership as the United States, around 33-34%, rates of gun crime are nearly non-existent in Iceland.
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