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12-Year-Old Arrested After Fatal School Shooting in Finland

WorldEurope12-Year-Old Arrested After Fatal School Shooting in Finland

A young student fatally shot a 12-year-old and wounded two others at a school in Finland on Tuesday, the police said, a rare act of violence by a child in a country that changed its gun laws after earlier school shootings but where gun ownership remains widespread.

The police said they had arrested a suspect, also 12 years old, who had a handgun, about an hour after arriving at the Viertola school, in the city of Vantaa, about 10 miles north of Helsinki.

“The shooting incident in Vantaa is deeply distressing,” Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on X.

Finland tightened its gun laws after two school shootings, in 2007 and 2008, in which 20 people died, including the perpetrators. Those shootings inspired a heated debate over firearm legislation in a country of hunters and gun enthusiasts.

A law introduced in 2011 raised the age limit for acquiring handguns to 20 and made it compulsory for doctors to report anyone they deemed unfit to own a gun.

Yet Finland still has one of the highest rates of firearm possession in Europe, according to the 2018 Small Arms Survey, conducted by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

Under Finnish law, permits for firearms can be granted to only people who can demonstrate “an acceptable purpose of use” and meet certain criteria.

It was unclear how the student in Tuesday’s shooting had obtained the handgun, but the police said that the weapon was licensed to a close relative of the suspect.

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