Finland Ups Age Requirement For Gun Permits

HELSINKI, Finland — Finland has increased the age limit for handgun licenses and tightened gun ownership rules in response to nearly 20 deaths caused by young gunmen on campuses over the past four years.

Finland has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world and its citizens are avid hunters, Reuters reports. Under the new legislation, handgun license applicants must be at least 20-years-old and actively involved in shooting as a sport or hunting.

Applicants ages 15-18 can be granted a special permit for rifles and shotguns if their guardian is licensed.

Calls for reform came after Pekka-Eric Auvinen, 18, killed eight people at Jokela High School near Helsinki in November 2007. The following September, Matti Saari, 22, killed 10 people at a vocational school in Kauhajoki before shooting himself. Both gunmen had a license.

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