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Denmark: New Regulations on Air Guns Stir Controversy

(Apr. 30, 2012) As of the beginning of June 2012, new regulations on firearms will tighten control of air guns in Denmark. Any such weapon with a 5.5 millimeter caliber will need to be registered with the police. Furthermore, in order to use an air gun, owners of the weapons will have to either purchase a hunting license, belong to a shooting club, or obtain a special permit. (Critics Say New Regulations on Air Guns Are Full of Hot Air, THE COPENHAGEN POST (Apr. 26, 2012).)

Bo Nielsen, a spokesperson for an online forum for Danish hunters and gun enthusiasts, was critical of the new legislation as criminalizing hobby guns. He added that, under revised provisions, it will cost several thousand kroner to actually use an air rifle that might have cost only 300 kroner (about US$53) to purchase. (Id.) This view was echoed by an owner of a chain of stores in Jutland, who said that the new rules were “overkill” and that he understood “the need to regulate powerful weapons of nine and twelve millimetres, but I have never heard of a person being injured by a 5.5 millimetre gun.” (Id.)

Ole Haekkerup, speaking for the governing political party, said that the government had to take a step to control the air weapons. “We have to draw the line somewhere. … People have up to a year to make sure their weapons are legal.” (Id.)

Current estimates are that in total Danes own about 800,000 air guns, including pistols and rifles; purchase of the weapons is legal. (Id.)