A Brief Summary of Norwegian Gun Laws

Revised: 1st October, 1998

This law affects all firearms, The Firearms Act paragraph 1:

"A firearm is a weapon that by the use of a charge of gunpowder or by a mechanical device can shoot bullets, shot or other projectiles."

The following fall outside the law and can be sold freely: air guns, harpoon guns, flare guns, starting pistols, humane killers, modern firearms that are permanently de-activated. Antique guns: rifles and shotguns manufactured prior to 1885, pistols manufactured prior to 1871 (these may be fired).

To acquire any firearm in Norway you must obtain a "Permit to Acquire" from the police. This costs N.Kr.125 (ca. GB£12) per application. There is no upper limit on the number of firearms you can apply for. There is no set time on how long the application takes to process, but in my area 10 to 14 days is normal. With the permit in hand the gun can be purchased. The seller countersigns the form and returns it to the police. The gun is registered in the name of the purchaser and a Firearms Permit is issued and sent to the buyer after a few weeks. The original form acts as a temporary permit. The Firearms Permit is valid for the rest of that persons life. The police have a register of local gun owners. The permit must be shown when buying ammunition, and only ammunition in the calibre shown on the permit can be purchased. The permit must also be shown when buying primers and powder (gunpowder).

To be considered for issuance of a permit the applicant must have "valid reason". Valid reasons include (but are not limited to): Hunting, Vermin Control, Target Shooting, Collecting, Self-Defence. A self-defence permit allows the person to carry a pistol concealed, but these are rarely granted.

No type of firearm is banned in Norway, however the type of firearm you can own is dictated by the use to which it will be put:

The minimum age for acquisition is:
18 years for rifles and shotguns (16 years with parental consent).
21 years for pistols.

To acquire a rifle or shotgun for hunting you must first have passed the hunter safety course (Jegerprove).

To acquire a rifle shotgun or pistol you must have been a member of a pistol club for six months, have shot at least 15 times (with the club's guns) and have passed a gun safety course.

To gain collector status you must first have a collection (Catch 22 eh!). The collection could be of antique guns, or deactivated guns, or even militaria like uniforms or bayonets. When the collection exceeds 25 guns you have to install extra security at home, and the police have to approve this. Guns in a collection can be fired.

Oh, and by the way silencers are available over the counter - no registration or anything. The use of a silencer is seen as an act of good neighbourliness.

A gun acquired for one purpose can be used for other purposes (as long as it is legal). For example a collector could go hunting with one of his rifles, whilst a hunter could use her shotgun for shooting trap.

You must provide secure storage for you gun at home. When the house is unoccupied the gun must be stored unloaded and locked up (or a vital part removed). The ammunition must be locked up separately from the gun. The police may inspect your storage and if they consider it inadequate make recommendations as to improving it.

About one adult in eight possesses a registered firearm. There are large numbers of (legally) unregistered guns in addition to these. Somewhere between one household in three and one in four have a gun. The government supports target shooting with direct subsidies of millions of kroner each year. Large numbers of skilled riflemen are seen as beneficial to the nation's defence - the fullbore rifle association has some 200,000 members (Not bad for a country with 4.4 million population).

Foreigners can visit Norway with guns and ammunition to participate in hunting and/or competitions. A visitors permit is issued. Apply beforehand at your local Norwegian embassy. They will need a letter from the person or shooting club that is inviting you. Unless you are royalty or a visiting head of state a visitors carry permit will not be issued!

Foreigners moving to Norway with guns should alert customs beforehand. They are pretty laid back about shotguns and hunting rifles, and owners of these are often allowed to carry them through. Owners of other types of firearms may find that customs (or a local firearms dealer) hold these guns until the owner has joined an appropriate shooting club.

If you have any other questions just ask.

Andrew Walls <Andrew.Walls@nbr.no>
Near the arctic circle

Posted: 1997