Saturday, December 15, 2012

Swedish gun laws – yes there are many guns in Sweden


Recent events in the US have hit me pretty hard. I think it is hard for any parent not to sit up and notice such tragic events. I try to keep this blog relatively free of political slant, but sometimes it is difficult. I am pretty opinionated.

It is times like this that I do wonder about gun culture in the US. I grew up learning to shoot a gun. I learned to shoot a rifle before I hit puberty and my father took me to the shooting range to try out some more powerful weapons when I was young. I learned to respect guns.

We did not, however, have guns in our house. There was no need.

Since moving to Sweden, I have had a little bit of encounter with gun culture here, mostly because of family and colleagues who are hunters. And I know they have an incredible respect for their guns.

This is what I have learned about Swedish gun laws. Please though, I am not a legal expert. Don’t take this as the final word. If I have gotten anything wrong, please let me know!

1) There are actually a lot of guns in Sweden, mostly because there is a lot of hunting. A hunter needs to pass a test or/and be the member of a shooting range for over 6 months to get a license to purchase weapons. Once they get the license they can purchase multiple weapons.

2) You cannot carry your gun around - only while you are hunting. I remember one colleague freaking out about what to do with a gun on the way home from a hunting trip while stopping at a grocery store. He removed a part of the gun that was essential for its function and took that part into the store while leaving the rest in the car – and was still not sure of the legality of this.

3) You keep your guns locked up. This is key. Your guns are not for protecting you, they are for hunting. You need to keep your guns locked away and the key not easy to get. People should not be able to access your guns.

4) If you shoot an intruder, you will go to jail. There are laws out there that limit the amount of force you can use. If the choice is between taking someone’s life and losing your TV, you will be punished for taking the life --- I could be wrong about this one, since I cannot seem to find the actual law on the books -- but I have heard a few examples of this. 

I think the biggest difference between guns in the US and guns in Sweden is that guns here are not for self-defense. There are no conceal and carry laws.

These issues are not black and white. It very much goes hand and hand with the mentality of Swedes and Americans. When you live in a society that looks down upon spanking, bullying and other minor acts of violence – instead of considering these all ‘parts of growing up’ I think it does affect your take on all acts of violence. If your answer to getting your kid to stop hitting is to hit them back, the next step may just be that that the best way to deal with a burglar is to hit them first. 

34 comments:

  1. You're always entitled to some amount of self defense inside your own home, so you will likely at least have a lower sentence if you don't go free entirely . Shooting someone in your back yard however is just plain murder.

    I think the american pride and self-image has a lot to do with it.

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    1. My first response to this isn't showing, so if this shows up twice, that is why.

      Definitely pride and self-image, but also this idea of 'protecting what is yours' which I get if there is a physical threat to a loved one, but do not understand when it is a fully insured 5 year old TV.

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    2. I don't know how your insurance works in Sweden, but here in the US we have something known as a deductible. Mine happens to be $1000.00 - so if someone comes into my home to steal my television, which is worth about $1000, then I will get nothing from my insurance company if I file a claim. I'm not advocating shooting someone for stealing a television, just commenting on the insurance part.

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    3. In the US there is a very good chance that a burglar isn't there just to steal your TV set.

      There is a substantial chance that he is there to sexually assault anyone he can physically overpower, and quite possibly murder them afterwards.

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    4. I hate to be all American but I feel if someone comes into my home uninvited I should have every right to defend and yes that includes shooting them . Now guns are not only for hunting or shooting robbers it is also used to defend yourself against a tyrannical government . Kind of like how England was when they ruled the US . They would come to your home and do whatever they please that my friend is not a free society that is government control .

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    5. I was born and raised in America without having many guns in my life. I really question the validity of this sentiment. Guns, riots, and warfare are very different now then they were back then due to the major technological advances we've seen in the last century. The best solution I can see right now is to live in a country where you aren't under a tyrannical government, which, as it turns out, is why I'm considering moving out of America.

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  2. It's also a bit of fear culture, which is something I'll have to post about in a month or so, after things are calmer.

    As a friend of mine said, "when a country calls gun ownership a right and access to mental healthcare a privilege, something has gone terribly awry."

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    1. Yes, it is a hard issue to have a stance on at the moment that isn't strongly influenced by the weeks events - but I like your friends quote.

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    2. Or you could say that you do not have the right to something that belongs to someone else, you have to convince them to provide it.

      A right for example to, liberty or property (or to carry a firearm) just means these are something you have in nature that if I were to deprive you of them, that would be wrong.

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  3. You're right about number 4. Lives, all lives, are valued over material things here, luckily!

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    1. Same in US.I live in Tn,have a carry permit,and had to have training to carry.In the laws,it plainly states "You must prove that you were in fear of loss of life or limb."Meaning you have to have reasonable doubt,that you or someone at your home(or where ever you are at the time of shooting)felt threatened of receiving grievous bodily injury or loss of life.If you shoot someone for stealing your truck/tv/bike you can go to jail for murder,since these can be replaced.Also,if you shoot in self defense,with reasonable intent,but another gets harmed in the process,you can go to jail.If the bullet goes thru and hits a bystander,you can get manslaughter or other charges(depending on the outcome)so you must be careful of placement,what type of firearm/ammo you use,etc.99% of people that carry are very limited legally in what to do when protecting life,just can't shoot whatever moves and get away with it like most countries think.And if you notice,that states/cities with the strict gun control laws,also have the highest crime rate(D.C./Chicago) vs. states that allow carry or allowed to own for protection.

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  4. If someone breaks into your home with a gun, I think you could be allowed to protect yourself with a gun. But it doesn't give you the right to kill the other person. See http://www.notisum.se/rnp/sls/lag/19620700.HTM

    chapter 24, paragraph 1, 4, 6,

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    1. Thanks, my Swedish family does have guns, but explained it to me that if you have time to get your gun out of its locked safe, get your gun loaded, aim and fire, you should have just called the police and ran.

      But I imagine there are some exceptional circumstances, so it is good to see what the law actually says.

      Thanks!

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  5. Americans are not given "free reign" to shoot people on the streets. Even self defense under "Stand your Ground" laws require a police investigation.

    If you tell a police officer "I shot the intruder because they were taking my TV" you will go to jail. Except in Texas, where you can legally shoot people for taking property.

    In most locales in the US we are not encouraged to shoot people. In fact it is highly frowned upon.

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  6. Crime statistics show that more Americans die of murder from firearms than in most of the G20 nations. We also have a murderous "War on Drugs" which has put 3,000,000 of our own people in jail, giving us a per capita inmate population that rivals "authoritarian" nations.

    If one avoids the drug trade and living near drug dealers their odds of dying violently from firearms are remote. You are much more likely to die of auto wrecks, diet or smoking related causes.

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    1. According to FBI crime records, more people are murdered with knives than all long guns combined... yes this includes so called military-style rifles.
      America has a violence problem, manifested by misuse of guns and not so much a gun problem. Having close relatives in Germany, the differences in attitude are stark.

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    2. Feel free to source that claim. Totally false.

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    3. Technically, this Anon poster is not wrong. I will find the source and link it at the end. More people in the United States are killed, in recent years, with knives than "all long guns" combined. This is true. It does not include, however, homicides committed with handguns, which is vastly greater than both combined.
      Not weighing in here, it seems like some sort of obfuscation on the part of the Anon's post and blatant dismissal of that without proper investigation by EricLeb. Viva la verdad y viva the internet!
      http://bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbse&sid=31

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    4. Eric: in 2012 there were over 1700 people murdered with knives. There were about 350 murders with rifles of any sort, of which only a small fraction were "military" semiautomatic rifles.

      Last time I checked, 1700 is more than 350.

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  7. I find it very interesting that people comment on the fact that in Sweden shooting a home intruder would be frowned upon. However the likelihood of dying by being killed by a drug using or sociopathic intruder is also minimal in Sweden. Even the murder rate, when looked at either overall, or by homicide by gunshot, is exceedingly small compared to the US. If guns are available and they are the problem, then why is the rate not only of murder so low, but also the rate of homicide by gun? While I am far from a gun toting loonie as many "gun control" advocates suggest, I would also mention that the likelihood of that intruder in my house is armed while I and my family are there is extremely high, and the possibility of me or my family being killed by them is even higher. Like it or not, those are the facts. Having guns banned in your town or state will not stop your wife and daughter being raped and killed during a home invasion. Just ask Chicago how their gun ban is working out.

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    1. Maybe you should ask Australia if theirs worked.

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    2. Australia's gun laws made no difference in Australia's gun crime rates. There have been no large massacres since the post-Port Arthur bans and confiscations? Well, there were no large massacres before Port Arthur either.

      Gun crimes were declining in Australia for years before Port Arthur, despite a lack of gun bans.

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    3. "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."

      Sorry, had to post it. You are completely correct, however, that it's mentality which is at fault. The structures in place, here, educate the people in a way that such violence is unfortunately sometimes viewed as the acceptable and logical course of action. Re-education would not be enough, nor would removing the firearms solve the underlying issue.

      I find that often the underlying cause of such action is desperation or lack of what is essential to support one's lifestyle and sometimes even the basic necessities to survive. When people are squeezed under such pressure, they like all in existence will eventually yield. And such violence is merely one of the many consequences.

      The US seems to be pressured by poverty and the gap in wealth between the comfortably wealthy and abysmally poor. I do not necessarily believe man lacks the capacity for virtue, in fact that is untrue. However, it is a lack of virtue and, formally, a lack of appropriate and sincere actions being taken place to rectify this underlying scenario which in effect causes this gradual increment of violent activity.

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  8. Also I think you're not allowed to have more than 6 guns and you're only allowed to buy ammunition if you own a gun which use that kind of ammo if I remember correctly.

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  9. Did you ever think maybe the reason for all the rapes in Sweden is partially because women don't have guns to protect themselves?

    Everyone is always bashing the US gun laws, but don't seem to get that many of the people that die actually deserve it. In other words, if you don't kill the rapist, then expect more rapes and innocent victims.


    "In this New Sweden we have more reported rapes than any other country in the European Union, according to a study by professor Liz Kelly from England. More than 5 000 rapes or attempted rapes were reported in 2008 (last year it was more than 6 000). In 2010 another study reported that just one country in the world has more rapes than Sweden, and that is Lesotho in South Africa … For every 100 000 inhabitants Lesotho has 92 reported rapes, Sweden has 53, The United States 29, Norway 20 and Denmark 7."

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    1. To be fair, the definition of rape in Sweden is much broader than in other parts of the world, and incidents of rape are reported more assiduously as well. Therefore, the statistic can be considered a false high. This professor Liz Kelly may or may not have qualified her reporting of this statistic, I don't know, but it has certainly been addressed since.

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  10. As for the rape figures in Sweden. Most have been proven to be by immigrants from the middle east. Rape hade very low figures before Sweden opened its arms to those fleeing war-torn countries. The implications run deeper. Swedish women do not, and rightly so, submit themselves to the dress laws of Islam, and are thereby seen by these immigrants as loose women with whom they can do what they will. Gun laws in Sweden should be relaxed so that those of us who love Sweden can redress these problems. Women in Sweden should be granted the right to carry arms.

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  11. Swedish women should tell the government to get out of the way to their God-given right to defend themselves.

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  12. Reference 'rapes in Sweden' - should the definition of 'a rape' even be a valid question? Are all rapes reported? Any figure / statistic over the number '0' should be considered too high. In an ISSS report, Nov 12 2012, it comments on the increase in rapes in Sweden "as immigrants from Islamic backgrounds have a preference for raping Swedish girls above being potentially shamed for raping a muslim girl'. Reference gun legislation in any country - a gun is a 'tool' in the civilian sector, not a weapon. If legislators focused more on the core problem in societies there would be less need to focus on tightening gun laws. The right to defend yourself, and your family, with "equal or appropriate force required to repel an attacker or intruder" would clarify most scenarios irrespective of the means used to apply that force?

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  13. Interesting discussion, as in most cases Swedish laws are not written in absolutes but requires some "common sense"as is the laws regulating weapons. The basic principle is that unless you can prove your need very well (for example being a professional hunter or teaching hunting) you are not allowed to have more than six hunting rifles (one can during certain circumstances be replaced with a .22LR handgun for "grytjakt") with a hunting license. Weapons for competitions is a lot different, first of all its very hard to a license but if you do get one, as long as compete on some level, you can more or less buy and own any type of semi-automatic weapon (though a maximum of ten, not including hunting weapons). You are allowed to participate in competitions with hunting weapons but not the opposite.

    On a side note, the law does allow the issue of licenses for weapons for protection and concealed carry however to get a license for it is impossible. The possibility exists but for it to happen, some really strange circumstances must occur.

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  14. Sweden has the most strict weapon laws in the world, actually theres no equals - not even close. The obsession from our own government to unarm its own ppl can only be compared to other dictatorships.
    This is the only advertised democracy in the world where you dont have the right to defend yourself! If a maniac with a axe shows up in your backyard and he slips and hurt himself - YOU're the one who will face charges, and if you should fire at him with your hunting rifle you will end up in jail and the police will take your gun(s) from you, and also a life long banned weapon license. Even if you during the moose hunting season accidently shots for example a reindeer instead of a moose, you will lose your license and the police will take the rifles from you, they will take every chance they can to unarm the ppl.

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  15. "There are laws out there that limit the amount of force you can use". That's true, same in Finland. What I do not understand is this: What will limit criminals amount of force, when you do not have any legal means to defend yourself. Calling to police = they come to see what has happen, they do not prevent anything, because the situation will be over. Response time aren't seconds, they are hours in some parts of country, and ten to 60 minutes in towns. In real life, they may not come at all: Finnish guy call the police to get help, because there was a fight in his yard. Police ask, is there any blood? No? We don't come until there is..we don't have time to come in every f**king fight.

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  16. "Your guns are not for protecting you, they are for hunting."

    Anyone who thinks that must have the luxury of living in an area with a very low crime rate. They would change their way of thinking in a hurry if they had to live in some of the more crime-ridden parts of the U.S.

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