On Monday, after Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Norway woke up, albeit only temporarily, putting a hold on the disarming of police until December 1. Kaare Songstad, a senior police official, stated, “The most important thing we can do right now is to give ourselves the best overview of the international and national situation.”
The country had instructed its 6,000 uniformed officers to remove their service weapons this week, but plans have changed; now the police will wear their firearms on their belts, instead of storing them in their patrol cars. Ironically, only hours before the Paris attacks, Norway’s police chief had announced the police would be disarmed on the following Tuesday, because the intelligence service PST had lowered the threat level at the end of October. PST argued that the arrests of prospective Islamic terrorists and the exit of other radicalized Muslims gave them cause to lower the threat level.
After the Paris attacks, Norwegian Justice Minister Anders Anundsen asked PST to examine whether immigrants to Norway might belong to ISIS.
Norwegian police would prefer to retain their firearms; predictably, human rights activists want to remove them. The police use Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns and Heckler & Koch semi-automatic pistols.
“The most important thing we can do right now is to give ourselves the best overview of the international and national situation.”
Kaare Songstad, Norwegian senior police official
The Norwegian police will need their guns in case of a terrorist attack; the populace is mostly unarmed. According to the Library of Congress, Norway’s amendments to the Firearms Act in 2009 and the adoption of new Firearms Regulations the same year make it difficult to purchase or possess a firearm. Fully automatic weapons and some semiautomatic weapons are banned under the law. Only about 10% of Norway’s populace owns firearms. Gun laws were not greatly amended after the 2011 massacre in Oslo.