#Law Reform
Suomen eduskunta - Parliament of Finland

Within less than a year, Finland has seen two separate school shooting tragedies.

On 7 November 2007, Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, shot dead eight and himself at Jokela High School in Tuusula, southern Finland; on 23 September 2008, Matti Juhani Saari, 22, killed ten and himself at the college of Kauhajoki, western Finland.

Both Auvinen and Saari committed their murders by .22 calibre semi-automatic handguns, which both of them had legally obtained and registered with the police less than a month before the incidents. Both had received their permits on the grounds that target shooting at shooting range was their hobby. Auvinen was a member of a local shooting club, even if the club later confirmed that he had only attended a single one-hour training session there. As of the evening of 23 September it was still unclear whether Saari was a member to any shooting club; in legislation membership is not even a requirement. As is the common practice in Finland, both stored their guns in their homes.

With 56 firearms per 100 inhabitants, Finland has the world's third highest (official) gun ownership ratio in the world, behind only the US and Yemen. This reflects both a long national tradition of hunting and sport shooting, as well as, relatedly, a comparatively lax gun legislation.

Not only are hunting firearms (e.g. shotguns, rifles) easy to acquire by standards of any other any other rich-world country, but also handguns (e.g. pistols), with no relevant hunting purpose, can be obtained with very little inconvenience. (It is telling that Auvinen, a 18-year-old first-time licensee, had initially applied permit for a deadlier 9 mm Beretta pistol; this was denied as too powerful for a beginner, but since he had no criminal record such a request did not allow/oblige the police to either reject or vet further his second application.)

The Finnish government is currently preparing a new gun legislation. The need for a new law was prompted by an EU directive which mandates the countries to forbid the selling of firearms to people who are under 18 years old (something that Finland until the Jokela massacre opposed), and up to date was not meant to include any other major changes.

By signing this petition you express your concern over the Finnish gun laws, and demand the legislator to review them considerably further and sooner than required by the European Union.

Guns indeed never kill people, but they make it much easier. That's why owning them must be made more difficult.

Me allekirjoittaneet vaadimme, että Suomen eduskunta säätää nykyistä huomattavasti kireämmän lain käsituliaseiden lupamenettelyä ja hallussapitoa varten.

Vaadimme ainakin seuraavia muutoksia:

1) Käsituliaseita ei saa antaa ammuntaa harrastavien itsensä säilytettäväksi, vaan ne pitää säilyttää joko ampumaradalla tai poliisiasemalla.

2) Käsituliaseiden myymistä ensiostajille pitää tiukentaa esim. määräämällä vuoden karenssiaika hakemuksen myöntämisen ja aseen luovuttamisen välille. Myös ostajan sitoutumista ampumaharrastukseen tulee valvoa tiukemmin, esim. testaamalla kuinka hyvin luvan hakija hallitsee ilma-aseilla ampumisen.


We, the undersigned, call on the Parliament of Finland to considerably toughen the Finnish firearms legislation, and therefore demand:

1) The storing of handguns in owners' homes to be banned; the handguns should be stored only at shooting grounds or at police stations.

2) Selling of handguns to first-time buyers to be restricted, for example by imposing a year-long pending period between the date of licensing the applicant and the date of handing the obtained weapon to him; also the applicant's commitment to sport shooting should be screened more, for example by testing how skillfully he handles airguns.

The Tiukempi ampuma-aselaki Suomeen - Finland needs tougher gun legislation petition to Suomen eduskunta - Parliament of Finland was written by Aapo Markkanen and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.