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EXPLAINED: How gun control laws work in Denmark

The deadly shooting in a Copenhagen shopping mall and the fact the gunman did not have a firearms permit, has attracted attention abroad around Denmark's gun laws, which are some of the strictest in Europe.

EXPLAINED: How gun control laws work in Denmark
Photo of a rifle by Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

What does the law say?

Gun law in Denmark is regulated by the Ministry of Justice and the European Commission.

In Denmark, you are not permitted to acquire, possess, carry or use firearms or dangerous weapons and knives if you do not have a police permit.

Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Denmark have to show a genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example hunting, target shooting, collection.

Police carry out checks to decide whether it is safe to grant a person a permit and they are entered into records so everyone’s arms are accounted for.

Only licensed individuals may own or transfer a gun and ammunition and can only purchase ammunition that matches the firearm they own, according to, an organisation that tracks international firearm policy,

If someone wants to use a weapon to go hunting, they must have at least passed a hunting test (jagtprøve) and a shooting test (haglskydeprøve).

Civilians are not allowed to possess automatic firearms and private possession of semi-automatic assault weapons and handguns is permitted only with special authorisation.

According to, the maximum penalty for unlawful possession of a firearm is four months to two years in prison.


You must be over 20 years old  and have been an active member of a shooting association for at least two years, to be able to buy a gun. You must be 18 years old to be able to buy a rifle. However, people up to the age of 16 can be allowed to own a rifle if they have the consent of their parents.

How many guns are there in Denmark?

According to, the number of registered guns in Denmark was reported to be 340,000 in 2017. In a 2007 comparison of the number of privately owned guns in 178 countries, Denmark ranked at 69.

The percentage of adults living in a household with a firearm was reported to be 7 per cent in 2015.

Deaths from guns

According to, there were 64 deaths from firearms in Denmark in 2018.

Reacting to the news of Sunday’s shootings, US Congresswoman Lauren Boebert – a Republican and a gun rights activist said this was evidence that America had taken the right approach to firearms control.

“There was just a mass shooting in Denmark, a country with some of the strictest gun laws in Europe,” she wrote on Twitter. “It’s time to admit that gun laws DO NOT stop mass shootings!”

However mass shootings in Denmark are extremely rare. The Copenhagen shootings on 3rd July 2022 was the first mass shooting for 7 years. In 2015, two people were killed and five police officers injured in a series of Islamist-motivated shootings at a cultural centre and synagogue in Copenhagen.

In Denmark, there are a calculated 0.141 shootings per 100,000 inhabitants a year. That compares with just under 4 shootings per. 100,000 inhabitants a year in America, according the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation, United Nations.

On Monday Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said there would be discussions over whether or not to tighten Denmark’s gun laws but that now was the time to remember the victims.

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7-Eleven stores slowly reopen in Denmark after hack

7-Eleven said on Tuesday its stores in Denmark were slowly reopening after a hacker attack knocked out cash tills in locations across the country. 

7-Eleven stores slowly reopen in Denmark after hack

“Yesterday, we were the victims of a computer hack. We resumed operations in some stores overnight,” 7-Eleven said. 

“We expect to open more during the day,” it added in its statement Tuesday. 

The sudden outage occurred on Monday, a first for the US convenience store chain in Denmark, where it operates 175 stores. 

It did not say who might have been behind the attack.

Five stores were so far open again, which were for now only receiving payments in cash or via a mobile phone application.  

Based in Irving, Texas, 7-Eleven has than 77,000 stores worldwide which it operates either directly or under licence.