Colonel Dag Aamoth, press spokesman for the Norwegian Armed Forces, released a statement yesterday saying that the Norwegian Armed Forced had sold the Icelandic Coast Guard 250 MP5 submachine guns for NOK 625,000 (ISK 11.5 million, USD 94,000, EUR 75,000). The contract was signed December 17, 2013.
The Icelandic Coast Guard, however, says it has not paid the Norwegian Army for the guns and does not expect to do so, visir.is reports. Officials have claimed that the guns, or most of the guns, were presented to Iceland as a gift.
The Office of the Commissioner of the Icelandic Police said in a statement that its employees had first heard of the contract on Wednesday. According to the statement, a Norwegian delegation visited Iceland in June 2013 and discussed the possibility of providing the Icelandic police with MP5 guns, without cost.
The Office of the Commissioner of the Icelandic Police expressed an interest in getting such weapons but an email from the office asking whether there would be any additional costs was never answered.
In January, the Icelandic Coast Guard was told that 150 guns (not 250 as stated in the aforementioned contract) were being delivered. The commissioner stressed that the weapons are in the hands of the Icelandic Coast Guard and the commissioner has neither accepted nor approved the purchase of them. However, the Icelandic police did make use of 35 of the guns in training in a security area at Keflavík airport and afterwards returned them.
The commissioner added that it has never been able to purchase weapons before and if they must pay for the guns they will not accept them.
According to Fréttablaðið, the amount paid for the guns—which works out to be about ISK 46,000 each—is the average price of an MP5 machine gun.
As reported, Snorri Magnússon, chair of the Police Federation of Iceland, said yesterday that the police force in Iceland has had machine guns for many years but needed to renew its stock of weapons. He stressed that there has been no fundamental change in the police’s policy on carrying weapons.
On Tuesday, DV reported that Icelandic police cars would start carrying guns.
Parliamentarians voiced their shock over the issue in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament. They had not been made aware that there were plans for the Icelandic police to carry such weapons and had not been given the opportunity to debate the issue.
Over 8,000 people have ‘liked’ a Facebook page ‘Return the Guns’ set up in protest over the issue.