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Terrorism & Security

Finland school shooting sparks debate over gun ownership

A gunman killed 10 people and himself in the second massacre in a Finnish school in less than a year. The attack comes in the wake of new EU gun legislation.

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On Tuesday, 22-year-old Matti Juhani Saari, began firing on students in a classroom at the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality, reports the Associated Press.

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Witnesses said panic broke out as the masked gunman entered the school, the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality, and started firing in a classroom where students were taking an exam. He was dressed in black and carried a large bag, witnesses said. About 150 students were at the school, 180 miles northwest of Helsinki, at the time of the shooting.
A police spokesman, Jari Neulaniemi, said the attacker walked into the school armed with a .22-caliber pistol and some kind of explosive devices that he used to start a fire.

Prior to the attack, police had questioned Saari about a video clip on YouTube of himself at a shooting range. The video, the most recent of several posts, showed Saari saying "you will die next" to the camera, followed by three gun shots. Despite this warning, the police did not detain Saari or revoke his gun license because he did not threaten anyone directly. According to the Helsinki Times, an English-language Finnish daily, the shooting incident will lead to an investigation of police actions as well.

Chief Inspector Urpo Lintala from the Seinäjoki police force admitted that Saari had met the police on Monday. He was called for interrogation because the police had received a clue about an internet video clip, on which Saari is featuring himself firing a pistol. Saari was interviewed by the police of Kauhajoki but the interrogation did not lead to any further actions.

The Helsinki Times also reports that police found handwritten messages in Saari's apartment showing that he had been planning the attack since 2002.

In addition to a review of gun laws, the incident will lead authorities to consider changes in Internet monitoring, reports the BBC.

[Vanhanen] said: "The internet and YouTube forums... are not another planet. This is part of our world and we adults have the responsibility to check what is happening, and create borders and safety there."
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