The study consists of two parts: a general part about different types of guns, ammunitions and wound ballistics. The second part is a retrospective study based on autopsy reports from The Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Oslo.
Materials and methods:All autopsy reports regarding firearm related deaths in the 3-year period 2001 - 2003 were reviewed. The following data were registered: age and gender of victim, matter of death (suicide, homicide and accident), type of weapon, location of entrance wound, shooting range, presence/absence of drug and alcohol in post mortemblood, relationship between victim and perpetrator, alcoholism and drug abuse, diseases, circumstances around the death, and crime scene.
Results:The total number of cases was of 111. There were 19 cases of homicide, whereof six victims were female. The age of the victims ranged between 5 and 75 years. Five cases of so-called extended suicide were registered, i.e. the perpetrator committed suicide after killing one or several other persons. There were 91 cases of suicide; 4 of the victims being female. In the suicide cases the most frequently used weapon was a shotgun. The age ranged between 14 and 88 years. Median age for the suicide victims was 48 years. Alcohol was detected in post mortem blood samples in 35 of the victims. Benzodiazepines were found in 13 cases and opiates in five cases.
Discussion:Based on pervious studies, the numbers of firearm-related deaths in Norway does neither show a clear tendency toward an increase nor a decrease. Homicide by firearms is rare in Norway. Most of the victims were killed by somebody they knew. Most of female victims were killed at home by spouse or ex-spouse. The most frequently used weapon in suicide cases was a shotgun. The number of shotguns isrelatively high, compared to other types of guns in Norway. Tightening of already strict gun laws probably only has marginal effects.