November 8, 2007

WELL, IT'S CERTAINLY ABOUT THE BEAR IN THE WOODS:

Packing Heat in Helsinki: Why do Finns own so many guns? (Michelle Tsai, Nov. 8, 2007, Slate)

Although gun violence is very rare in Finland, the country has the highest rate of firearm ownership in Europe and the third highest in the world, behind only the United States and Yemen. Why do so many Finns own firearms?

They're hunters. The Finns have hunted and fished for food for thousands of years, with agriculture only catching up as a major food source in the 20th century. Today, hunting (PDF) remains a popular weekend, or even after-work, activity. Finland is one of the largest European countries, and there are ample grounds for hunters. (Forests cover more than half of the country.)

According to the Finnish government, the country has 1.6 million registered weapons and 650,000 people with firearm permits. That means about 12 percent of the population owns a weapon of some kind. More than half the permits are for hunting, which is usually done with rifles and shotguns.


Stalin who?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 8, 2007 11:18 PM
Comments

Twelve percent? What nonsense is this?

Just as American government is unique in its reserved rights, so is our retention of the means of force by civil society.

Our comparable figure is reported at around 60%, although the actual figure may be considerably higher inasmuch as many guns are legally owned without any official record whatsoever, and some are illegally possessed. The number of privtely owned guns roughtly equal to the entire adult population: some of us have more than one apiece.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 9, 2007 2:35 AM

I would be extremely shocked if 60% of the entire population owns a firearm. That would be every male - regardless of age - plus a fifth of the female population. Maybe 15% of the men I know own a firearm, and 1% of women. I'm sure others have a higher percentage, but I can't believe I'd be in such rare company.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at November 9, 2007 11:51 AM

You'd think it was that few given how seldom most shoot them, but when you ask it turns out they have a firearm in a closet somewhere.

Posted by: oj at November 9, 2007 3:03 PM
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