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Owners of 70,000 guns in Norway are dead: Police

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Owners of 70,000 guns in Norway are dead: Police
A 17-year-old Norwegian in the mountains with a dead deer. Photo: Knut P. Bøyum/Flickr
20:39 CEST+02:00
Police in Norway have warned that they risk losing track of at least 70,000 guns in the country, because those who inherit weapons have no legal duty to register them or alert police.
Weapons registered to deceased persons have been used several times in serious crimes in Norway, with for instance a murder committed in 2009 on the island of Nesøya carried out with a gun registered in the name of the dead father of the person who committed the crime.
 
According to The Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs, which wants to force police to follow up what happens to registered weapons when their owners die, an estimated 38,000 of Norway's 486,669 registered gun owners have now died without their weapons being either handed back to police or registered in the name of their new owners. 
 
"When there are guns in an inherited estate, heirs have no clear obligation to contact the police, as things stand today. When police contact the heirs to clarify where the weapons are, many people don't respond," Steinar Talgø of the Police directorate told the Norwegian police internal magazine Politiforum
 
Talgø added that the police districts had historically not prioritised seeking out those who had inherited weapons.

"On our part, we have made clear that it is the police districts' responsibility to follow up on inherited weapons. The longer it takes after the death until new ownership is formalised, the greater the danger that the weapon disappears, until ultimately you don't know where the weapons are," he said. 
 
There are about 1.3 million registered fire arms in Norway, giving the country the 10th highest gun ownership per head in the world. 
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