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Nearly 4,000 legally-owned handguns in Iceland

24.02.2021 - 09:47
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There are nearly 4,000 registered handguns in private ownership in Iceland. Icelanders own a total of close to 70,000 legal firearms, with shotguns the most popular by far. Seven guns were reported stolen last year, which was significantly fewer than in recent years.

Hunting and gun-related sports have been a popular pastime in Iceland for a long time. In order to own a gun, people must have a firearms licence, pass a test, fill out many forms – and adhere to all laws and rules. There is no upper limit to the number of weapons one person can own.

Shotguns popular 

Over 69,000 guns were legally owned by private citizens in summer 2019, which is the most recent figure available from the State police. Around 39,000 of those were shotguns, nearly 26,000 rifles, and the number of handguns was nearly 4,000. There were 1,500 registered sheep guns, mostly owned by farmers. Of that 70,000 total, 1,855 had been decommissioned or deactivated. 

Always some thefts 

The State police chief told RÚV in a written response that it is difficult to say how many illegal guns there are in Iceland, but that it is considered rare for police to deal with such cases. There are, however, regular reports of stolen guns—an average of 15 per year—though there were only seven last year. 

Police firearms are not included in these figures. 

Guns have been the subject of public conversation in recent days following the murder in Reykjavík on Saturday 13th February. A handgun was used in what appears to have been a planned attack. 

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