Citation(s) from the literature library

Norway. 2005 ‘Seized or Confiscated Weapons.’ National Report of Norway on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA), p. 9. New York, NY: Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations. 30 April

Relevant contents

6.3 Seized or Confiscated Weapons.

[A specialised unit of Norwegian Police] Nye Kripos registers all firearms received for destruction and keeps records of all the historical data.

An amnesty for the voluntary handing in of small arms and light weapons was declared from 1 September 2003 until 31 August 2004. The amnesty was implemented, based on the experience from a more limited trial amnesty in 6 Police Districts in 2000, which was considered quite successful as regards the number of weapons handed in for registration compared to the anticipated number of unregistered weapons. A number of these weapons are weapons which date from the Second World War that have been passed on through inheritance, or shotguns acquired before registration of these became mandatory in 1990. Altogether 5692 weapons were dealt with during the trial amnesty, most of which were registered rather than destroyed or made inoperable.

The present legislation on small arms and light weapons allows for the possibility of granting amnesty to persons not having complied with the obligation to register weapons, if these persons hand in their weapon to the police for registration during a specified period to be determined by the competent authorities. When registering these weapons, the same rules apply as to the normal licensing of weapons being dependent on the person being of a sound body and mind and otherwise fulfilling the criteria for being allowed to possess a weapon.

Altogether, some 35,000 weapons were handed in for registration and/or destruction during the amnesty. A preliminary evaluation suggests that the purpose of the amnesty was not well enough communicated to the general public, which may have resulted in fewer weapons being handed in than would otherwise have been the case. Many owners of small arms were afraid that their weapons, if handed in, would be confiscated or destroyed rather than just registered.
This may have deterred a number of people from handing in their weapons, preferring perhaps to dispose of them by other means, such as dumping the weapons in a lake.

The benefit of having a time-limited amnesty was demonstrated by the fact that 84 per cent of the weapons were handed in within the last two weeks of the amnesty, when the issue became more highlighted in the public mind through the attention of the media. This also underlines the importance of a clearly designed media strategy so as to explain to the general public the purpose of the amnesty, which was basically to reduce the number of unregistered weapons
generally believed to be in private ownership for a variety of reasons other than criminal ones.

The current review of experiences may result in some modifications regarding provisions on amnesties in the legislation on small arms and light weapons.

ID: Q1614

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