In a reversal of government policy, members of the Danish military reserve force, the Home Guard (Hjemmeværnet – HJV), are once again to be allowed to keep functioning weapons in their homes.
Having been banned from doing so following the Copenhagen terror attack in February, new safety measures mean weapons held by reservists in Denmark will now be treated in the same way as their Swedish and Norwegian counterparts.
General Major Finn Winkler, head of the HJV, welcomed the move that “will markedly improve security” but warned it will take some time before full implementation adding: “We will need to spend millions of kroner and the whole purchasing process will take time.”
The process and costs to which he refers relate to the new safety measures reported by The Local. HJV reservists’ weapons will be registered and equipped with a chamber lock, similar to those employed by Swedish and Norwegian volunteer forces. Implementation is expected to take one to two years.
Prior to the new policy Denmark’s 4,300 reservists were required to turn in the bolts for their rifles, albeit temporarily. These were stored in several depots across Denmark.
The bolt confiscation occurred after February’s Islamist terror attacks on a cultural centre and a synagogue in Copenhagen. Those killed in 22-year-old Omar El-Hussein’s rampage were shot with an M95 rifle which was stolen from a reservist’s home. Even though reservists had to store rifles and bolts in separate locked storage at their homes, a thief managed to take a functioning weapon.
The original disarmament was not without controversy. Although welcomed by the left-wing Socialist People’s Party as a “sensible” other politicians criticised the move.
A Danish People’s Party MP, Marie Krarup, told DR at the time: “When one hands in their bolt, it’s the same as handing in their weapon. So it is basically saying that now our Home Guard is unarmed. I think that is the wrong decision.”
In April it was reported by Jyllands-Posten that the number of Danes expressing interest on the HJV website doubled its average over the preceding five months.