European sportsmen (and women!) enjoy a proud, centuries-old heritage of hunting and shooting, but their way of life has come under attack in recent decades by anti-gun lobbyists gradually restricting the types of guns available for use.
The latest example comes from Norway, where the parliament recently decided to ban most kinds of semi-automatic hunting rifles, according to online Swedish magazine Jakt & Jägare. While the list of banned firearms has yet to be released, Jakt & Jägare report that the new law goes farther than the European Union’s new arms directive, which still allows the possession of AR- and AK-patterned rifles as long as shooters use magazines of 10 rounds or less.
Ruger’s Mini 14 is almost certainly on the chopping block, and Norwegian hunters will have three years to either sell or dispose of their now-illegal firearms. Selling a firearm to a buyer in a foreign country can be expensive and time-consuming, so many gun owners will likely be forced to simply destroy their rifles.
Norway’s Hunters and Fisheries Federation (NJFF) criticized the legislation and promised to work to provide better options for gun owners.
“NJFF believes it is unacceptable with a retroactive ban on hunting weapons that have been in legal use for many decades. The fact that the owners are not given opportunity to get any sort of compensation does not make the case better. We will work hard to get compensation,” said the federal hunting consultant Vidar Nilsen in a statement from NJFF.
The law also includes a breadcrumb for Norwegian hunters, allowing them to own eight hunting weapons in their “wardrobe” instead of the previous six.
“It is a clear light point that the parliament listened to the hunters as to how many hunting weapons may be needed by hunters,” Vidar Nilsen said.
Norway’s focus on the Mini 14 is likely part of a larger response to a 2011 mass murder that left 77 people dead. The attacker bombed a government building then showed up at a youth summer camp two hours later, where he killed 68 people with a Mini 14.
Norway already had strict gun laws even before parliament decided to ban most semi-automatic rifles. A license is required to own a gun and owners must explain why they want to purchase one. Carrying a firearm for self-defense is strictly forbidden, as owners must transport firearms unloaded, off the body, concealed from view, and under constant supervision.