Panel proposes tighter gun laws after massacre

An independent panel on Monday unveiled proposals to tighten arms laws in Norway which suffered its worst peacetime attack in July when a right-wing extremist killed 77 people.

The committee, instituted in June last year before the July 22nd carnage, said the 50-year-old weapons laws needed to be replaced with tighter legislation.

It said a medical certificate should be mandatory for buying a first weapon, suggested regular checks on weapon owners and the listing of guns that take lead ammunition, which are theoretically banned from use.

The eight members of the panel said they favoured a broad ban on individual possession of pistols and semi-automatic weapons.

The review was set up after Anders Behring Breivik in July set off a bomb outside government offices in Oslo and then shot scores of youngsters at a Labour youth summer camp on an island near the capital.

During his shooting spree he used a rifle and a revolver — a Ruger Mini 14 lightweight semi-automatic carbine and a German-made Glock pistol — to kill 69 people.

The 32-year-old managed to get legal permission for the weapons on the grounds that he was a member of a shooting club and also hunted.

The justice ministry said it would study the proposals before commenting.

Prosecutors last Tuesday declared Behring Breivik criminally insane when he carried out the deadly rampage after two psychiatrists who examined him concluded that he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

By removing Behring Breivik's criminal responsibility, the diagnosis will probably see him sentenced to receive psychiatric care in a closed institution — possibly for the rest of his life — instead of prison.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.