Sweden at gun point. A study on the effects of the new weapon law on shootings and arrests in Sweden
Sammanfattning: Firearm-related violence in Sweden is a growing concern as, compared to other countries in Western Europe, the victims are younger, and the country has a distinctly higher percentage of homicides perpetrated with a firearm. As a response to this problem a new law concerning firearm possession was implemented on January 1st, 2018 which facilitated arresting individuals for a longer amount of time. The present study aimed to investigate whether the new law had an effect on arrests and shootings in Sweden. Statistics from the National Operational Unit of the Swedish police was analyzed comparing the years of 2017 and 2018. The findings show that arrests had a significant (P=<0.0001) five-fold increase in 2018 (n=320) as compared to 2017 (n=64). Even though shootings in the country diminished in 2018 (n=306) as compared to 2017 (n=324), this decrease was not statistically significant (P=0.943). Interestingly, a positive relationship between shootings and a lagged version of arrests were found in both years. However, the causes for this might be other confounders that were not controlled for in this study such as the near-repeat crime effect found in previous studies on shootings in Sweden. In contrast to this, analyzing the numbers at police region-scale, produced a different finding. One of the most affected regions by shootings in the past, police region Syd, had a significant (P=0.044) negative relationship between arrests and shootings. This finding suggests that the law might have had an impact in this specific region. Future research should investigate this finding more thoroughly as the knowledge can be used to combat the notion of firearm-related violence in Sweden.
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