Swedish Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson has slammed the surge of gun violence across the country as Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has vowed new measures to tackle gang crime.
Mr Kristersson made his comments in reaction to three shootings over the weekend in the Swedish capital of Stockholm saying the current situation in the country is “extreme for a country that is not at war”, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Mats Löfving, head of the police’s national operational department Noa, commented on the shootings this year saying: “The development is unacceptable. In many cases, military automatic weapons are used. We see a reduction in the number of those injured in firearm violence, but the killing does not go down.”
So far this year, the Stockholm area has seen 11 deaths as a result of shootings. Last year, Sweden saw a record number of shooting fatalities with Swedish police specialist Gunnar Appelgren making similar comments to Kristersson last December, stating that Sweden was akin to a “state at war”.
Shootings have not been limited to Stockholm either. Just before 1am Tuesday morning, police in central Växjö discovered a man who had been wounded as a result of gunfire. Officers say the man had to be rushed to a nearby hospital but so far no suspects have been arrested in the case.
Sweden: 100 Percent Rise in Fatal and Attempted Fatal Shootings Since 2012 https://t.co/Nk5XICzpro
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In an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Prime Minister Löfven condemned the weekend shootings saying that the government would look at new proposals this week to mitigate the continuing gun violence.
“We have tightened several penalties considerably, including the punishment for illegally holding weapons and explosives such as hand grenades. We have also given the police increased powers for, for example, camera surveillance and information collection,” he said.
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Mikael Damberg presented several new proposals to combat gun violence including tougher penalties for improper possession of explosive materials and new powers for customs officials to block packages suspected of containing weapons or explosives.
The Swedish National Forensic Centre stated earlier this year that the number of fatal shootings and attempted murders across the country has doubled since 2012 and laid part of the blame on the availability of illegal weapons.