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Norway announces plans to ban semi-automatic guns, 10 years after Anders Brevik attack

Right-wing extremist killed 69 people in 2011 mass shooting

Alina Polianskaya
Wednesday 28 February 2018 11:03 GMT
Mass murderer Anders Breivik used a semi-automatic rifle
Mass murderer Anders Breivik used a semi-automatic rifle (AFP/Getty)

Norway has announced plans to ban semi-automatic guns by 2021, a ruling due to come into force a decade after Anders Breivik shot dead 69 people at a youth summer camp.

The announcement comes amid a growing debate over legislation governing semi-automatic weapons in the US, after 17 students were killed at a school in Florida.

A ban on semi-automatic weapons in Norway was proposed by the minority right-wing government last year, but senior politicians now believe they have enough support to pass the law.

Peter Frolich, a Conservative member of parliament’s standing committee on judicial affairs, told AFP: “Today, it has become clear that there is a parliamentary majority in favour of the government’s proposal. Semi-automatic weapons will therefore be banned in Norway.”

He explained that the ban took a long time to be put in place as many hunters in the country used semi-automatic weapons, although the law may include be some exemptions for those involved in shooting sports.

The move was welcomed by a victims' support groups, despite the delay.

Automatic weapons are already banned from being sold in Norway.

The country has relatively strict gun laws and requires a license to own a firearm, clear reasoning as to why it is needed, as well as a clean criminal record.

On 22 July 2011, right-wing extremist Breivik used a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock pistol in the attack on the island of Utøya in Tyrifjorden, Buskerud.

The vast majority of his victims were teenagers. More than 100 others were injured in the attack.

Lone wolf Breivik dressed as a policeman when he infiltrated the summer camp run by the Norwegian Labour Party (AUF) and carried out the massacre.

Prior to the attack, he also planted a bomb in Oslo, which killed eight people.

The mass murderer, who now goes by the name Fjotolf Hansen, was imprisoned for at least 21 years. He gave a Nazi salute in court during procedures.

In America, survivors of the Parkland shooting, along with many others have called for tougher gun laws following the tragedy.

Donald Trump has said he supports “the concept” of raising the age limit to buy certain types of guns from 18 to 21, but has faced backlash from the National Rifle Association over the suggestion.

Public opinion on gun laws appears to be shifting somewhat in the US, with a recent poll by CNN showing 70 per cent of people now claim to back tougher gun laws.

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