Twelve-year-old arrested after fatal school shooting in Finland

A young student fatally shot a 12-year-old and wounded two others at a school in Finland on Tuesday, police said, a rare act of violence by a child in a country that changed its gun laws after previous school shootings, but where firearm ownership remains widespread.

Police said they arrested a suspect, also 12 years old, who had a gun, about an hour after arriving at the Viertola school in the town of Vantaa, about 10 miles north of Helsinki.

“The Vantaa shooting incident is deeply distressing,” Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said this on X.

Finland tightened its gun laws after two school shootings, in 2007 and 2008, in which 20 people, including the perpetrators, died. Those shootings inspired a heated debate over firearms legislation in a country of hunters and gun enthusiasts.

A law introduced in 2011 raised the age limit for purchasing firearms to 20 and made it mandatory for doctors to report anyone they deemed unfit to own a gun.

Yet Finland still has one of the highest rates of firearm ownership in Europe, according to the 2018 Small Arms Survey, conducted by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

Under Finnish law, firearms permits can only be granted to people who can demonstrate “an acceptable purpose of use” and meet certain criteria.

It was unclear how the student involved in Tuesday's shooting obtained the gun, but police said the weapon had been licensed to a close relative of the suspect.

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