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About 50,000 Swedes own handguns

Nov. 10, 2007 at 7:55 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- About 50,000 people in Sweden -- including only 11 18-year-olds and a handful of younger teenagers -- have licenses for pistols and revolvers.

The National Police Board, which examined the weapons registry, said there are 140,000 licensed handguns in the country, with most owners possessing three guns, The Local reported.

Investigators believe there are 5,000 to 10,000 illegal handguns in the country, the newspaper said.

The Scandinavian countries have been examining their weapons laws since a Finnish teenager shot and killed eight people and himself at his high school Wednesday. The teen had a gun permit.

Handgun ownership in Sweden is tied to membership in gun clubs. Those who want licenses must first be trained in gun use at the club, get their ability to shoot certify and show they are "trustworthy, sensible and law abiding."

The few 15- to 17-year-olds who have gun permits live in rural areas and attend high schools where the hunting certificate is on the curriculum.

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