Helsinki region has lower per-capita gun ownership than rest of Finland
Pistols and revolvers constitute larger proportion of Helsinki area firearms
The Helsinki metropolitan area has significantly fewer firearms per capita than the rest of Finland. Whereas the whole country has 29 weapons per 100 people, the rate in the Helsinki region is 13 to 100.
The Helsinki region also stands out in the types of weapons that are most common. Pistols and revolvers are more common in the greater Helsinki area than elsewhere in the country.
Handguns account for 27 per cent of firearms in Helsinki and its surroundings, compared with an average 16 per cent for the rest of Finland.
The information is from a study by University of Helsinki researcher Ville Maijanen, who has analysed the number of firearms licences and the different types of guns that they apply to in 11 municipalities in the Helsinki region.
The proportion of long-barrelled weapons – rifles and shotguns – increases the further one gets from the central cities and moves into outlying areas. The likely reason for this is that there are more opportunities for hunting in the outlying areas than in Helsinki, Espoo, or Vantaa.
In the Helsinki region, the highest proportion of weapons is in Sipoo and Nurmiärvi. The lowest proportion of per capita ownership of guns is in Espoo and Vantaa.
Firearms statistics put out by the National Police Board of Finland put the number of firearms in Finland at 1,555,100.
According to Maijanen’s report, only 169,600 of these are in the metropolitan area, even though a quarter of the population of the whole country live in the area. Nearly 90 per cent of Finnish weapons are outside the Helsinki region.
“People own fewer weapons in the urban environment”, Maijanen says.
The study shows that in Helsinki there are 70,100 licensed weapons. These are owned by 23,300 holders of gun licences. This means that each licensed gun owner has an average of about three weapons.
The study disproves claims that have been previously made that there would be hundreds of thousands of guns in Helsinki.
Maijanen also found that the number of guns in Finland is in the decrease.
Maijanen’s data is unique in that information on weapons ownership has never before been broken down on the municipal level. The reason for this is that Finland’s firearms registry is divided according to local police units, and not municipalities.
Maijanen is the chairman of a consultative committing for the shooting hobby in the Helsinki region. The aim of his study is to get basic information to form a basis for discussion among local authorities in the region on whether or not there is a need for new shooting ranges in the area.
Several shooting ranges have been shut down in the Helsinki region in recent years, and no new ones have been set up.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Medical certificate requirement slows handgun sales (31.10.2008)
Combat games alone not seen to inspire violence (30.5.2012)
Interior Ministry plans tighter screening of gun licence applicants (12.3.2009)