Iceland places number 15-16 in a list of countries with the highest ratio of gun ownership, compiled by gunpolicy.org. Run by the University of Sydney, Australia, the website compares statistics from 179 countries.
A reindeer herd in East Iceland. A special license is required to hunt the animal. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.
The top three countries are the U.S., where almost nine out of every ten citizens own firearms, Yemen and Switzerland, Fréttablaðið reports.
Finland places fourth on the list where 46 percent of inhabitants own guns. The next Nordic country is Sweden, number ten with 32 percent, followed by Norway, number 11 with 31 percent.
Iceland places 15-16th with a ratio of 30 percent but Denmark lies much further down, number 54, with a ratio of only 12 percent. Neither Greenland nor the Faroe Islands were included in the ranking.
Elvar Árni Lund, who chairs the Hunting Association of Iceland, said he assumes that most of the firearms in public ownership in Iceland are shotguns and hunting rifles.
“Semi-automatic rifles are banned and handgun ownership is fortunately low, mostly in connection with sharpshooting. Gun ownership in Iceland is mostly for the purpose of hunting and practicing sport,” Elvar stated.
He is not surprised by Iceland’s high ranking. “It shows that we are on the same level as other nations in the northern hemisphere. It is in our culture to hunt wild animals.”