After 22-year-old Matti Saari killed 10 students on Tuesday, Finland's leaders have vowed to tighten gun control legislation; a debate opened after a similar tragedy last year. The country has the world's third-highest rate of gun ownership.
UNITED NATIONS - Finnish President Tarja Halonen said on Tuesday the "shocking" news of a deadly shooting of 10 people at a school in western
"This news we received today was shocking, sad news about the shooting incident at a vocational school in Kauhajoki," Halonen told a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
"We have to have very serious discussions and studies on what to do," the president added.
Among the topics for discussion will be gun control and the differences between hunting rifles and hand guns, said Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb.
In an echo of last year's deadly attack at a high school in
Halonen said although the Internet and Web discussion forums were the domain of the younger generation, adults "should also be active and see that the rules in real life are also the rules that people have to respect in all circumstances. We have to follow the situation there."
Stubb said the government is discussing the issue of possible gun controls in the country, where gun ownership rates are among the highest in the world, but crime rates in general are low.
"Basically we are in the process of discussing the matter," Stubb said in response to a question. "There is a handgun directive which is channeled through the European Union and our legislation falls within the realm of that legislation."
"But I am sure that now in
Stubb noted that a government plan to raise the minimum age for gun ownership to 18 from 15 after last year's shooting had not taken effect but added, "I am sure this whole package with the arms will be reopened after this incident."
Date created : 2008-09-24