Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Finland targets gun laws -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The shooting deaths of 11 people at a technical college in western Finland has forced
the government to re-examine the country's gun laws.

Witnesses say the gunman was a trainee chef at the school who targeted his victims as he walked the
corridors.

It is the second school massacre in less than 12 months in Finland and there is now pressure on the
government to crack down on the country's owners.

Stephanie Kennedy reports.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The warning was there on the internet, a 22-year-old posted a video on the web
site YouTube last week.

The video shows Matti Juhani Saari on a shooting range, he speaks directly to the camera
threatening to kill.

EXTRACT FROM VIDEO: You will die next.

(sound of gunshots)

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Police were alerted about the video on Monday.

They interviewed the trainee chef but the police officer on duty decided there was no need to
terminate his gun licence.

But a day later 10 people were killed after the he stalked the corridors of his technical college
firing his gun.

Markku Mantila is editor of a local newspaper.

MARKKU MANTILA: He enters to a class room having a test going on at the time, and started shooting
and then he set the blazing fire, nine of the bodies are found in the same classroom and some of
them are very badly burned, seeing as he set the school on fire.

But all the evidence and all the reports that I have received so far are, can tell me that this
person really knew the persons who he wanted killed, and he really was efficient with what he was
doing.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: The gunman turned the gun on himself and he died from his injuries in hospital.
The trainee chef was given his gun licence last month.

This is the second school shooting in Finland in less than a year. Last November eight people and
the gunman died in another school massacre in Tuusula.

In the wake of that attack, Finland's Government pledged to raise the minimum age for buying guns.
But Heidi Hautala is a member of Finland's Parliament and she says little has changed.

HEIDI HAUTALA: I'm afraid that many people remained believing that it was a once-to-occur event and
it didn't really lead into serious consideration so for instance, changing and amending our laws
concerning the right to possess a weapon.

Before the tragedy of Kauhajoki, Finland was even eager to have an exemption in the new EU weapons
legislation to allow minors, as of from 15 years on, to have a possession in the presence of their
parents if they were practicing sort of hunting hobby which is considered to be a decent hobby
here.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: This Nordic country of five million has a long tradition of hunting, and there
are 1.6 million guns that are privately owned.

Finland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, third behind the United States
and Yemen.

Heidi Hautala says while the police were alerted to the gunman's video on the internet, more could
have been done when he applied for a gun licence.

HEIDI HAUTALA: As a Member of Parliament I was in the belief that obviously the Ministry of
Interior had sent instructions to the police and other authorities, how to deal with people who
come to apply for permission to possess a weapon but I do not really think this has happened, and
it may prove to have been a very serious failure.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: An inquiry is underway to investigate whether mistakes were made by the police.

This is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World Today.