Tweleve Year old Murders

Tweleve Year old Murders

HELSINKI — A young boy fatally shot a 12-year-old student and wounded two others at a school in Finland on Tuesday (2), police said, a rare act of violence by a child in a country that changed its gun laws after earlier school shootings but where gun ownership remains widespread.

Police said they had detained a suspect, also 12 years old, who had a handgun, about an hour after arriving at the Viertola school, in the city of Vantaa, about 10 miles north of Helsinki. He is accused of murder and attempted murder, police said.

As is customary with criminal investigations in Finland, police did not release the suspect’s name.

“We as a society have learned from the earlier sad school shootings,” national police chief, Seppo Kolehmainen, said at a news conference — but he added, “We did not manage to prevent the act in this sad event.”

“We will find out later why,” he said.

Finland tightened its gun laws after two school shootings, in 2007 and 2008, in which 20 people died, including the perpetrators. Those shootings inspired a heated debate over firearm legislation in a country of hunters and gun enthusiasts.


A law introduced in 2011 raised the age limit for acquiring handguns to 20, made it compulsory for applicants to pass an aptitude test and added a requirement that doctors report anyone they deemed unfit to own a gun.

Yet Finland still has one of the highest rates of firearm possession in Europe, according to the 2018 Small Arms Survey, conducted by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

Under Finnish law, permits for firearms can be granted only to people who can demonstrate “an acceptable purpose of use” and are considered fit based on their health and behaviour.

It was unclear how the student in Tuesday’s shooting had obtained the handgun, but police said the weapon was licensed to a close relative of the suspect.

Valtteri Mannila, a Vantaa resident who was on the school grounds with friends after Tuesday’s shooting and whose younger brother attends the school, told Yle, the Finnish national broadcaster, “Something should be done so this doesn’t happen again — that a student can walk into a school with a gun.”


While Finland has a higher rate of firearm-related deaths per 100,000 residents than other Nordic countries, according to the World Population Review, the figure is still much lower than in the United States.

Jukka Savolainen, a Finn who is a professor of criminology at Wayne State University in Detroit, said Finland’s high rate of firearm possession was largely linked to the country’s hunting culture and sporting habits rather than a need for self-defence.

Kimmo Nuotio, a professor of criminal law at the University of Helsinki, said Finland had strict limits on how a firearm must be kept.

“How was it possible that the gun was kept in a way that a small person could just get it?” he asked.

Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said at a news conference that, especially given the young age of the attacker and the victims, “The shooting incident at the Viertola school is deeply shocking and leaves you speechless.”



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