OSLO, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Norwegian government has said it will promote new firearms legislation during spring, more than five years after mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in the Nordic country, newspaper Aftenposten reported Thursday.
The number of registered private firearms has increased to more than 1.3 million over the past five years in Norway, a country with a population of 5.2 million.
On July 22, 2011, Breivik set off a car bomb that killed eight people outside the government headquarters in Oslo and then killed 69 others in a shooting rampage on Utoya Island, where young members of the governing Labor Party had gathered for their annual summer camp.
Aftenposten reported that Breivik was equipped with a Glock pistol and a Ruger Mini-rifle at the time he committed murders. The pistol and the gun were obtained legally from Norwegian arms dealers.
After the mass killing with guns, there has been a big debate on new weapons law and weapons ban in the country. The 22 July Commission, an independent commission look into the attacks, has wanted to ban semi-automatic weapons.
Fresh statistics from the police showed that there are nearly 1.33 million private firearms registered in Norway, according to Aftenposten.
Number of private gun owners has, however, remained stable. In total there are 486,028 private firearms licenses with weapons in Norway now.
Gun culture in Norway has been greatly influenced by hunting and sport shooting.
Nearly half a million Norwegians were listed in the register of hunters at the end of the hunting year 2015/2016.
"We have many hunters and competition shooters in this country and they need a weapon," said Vidar Nilsen, hunting consultant from the Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers (NJFF).
"Norway has a thorough hunter training and strict requirements for gun storage and aptitude to acquire weapons," said Nilsen, who also sits at the committee on weapons law.
"We have a very good gun control," Nilsen said.
Sport shooting is considered to be one of the oldest organized sports in Norway.
Arild Groven, secretary general of the Norwegian shooting sport association, said that Norway has good standards of safety and monitoring of the use of weapons.
Groven believes that the increase in registered weapons happened "because Norwegians keep getting better advices" regarding hunting weapons.
Willy Rogeberg, CEO of Oslo shooting range, told Aftenposten that "the problem is not those who have registered their weapons, nor how many weapons they have, but all those that are not registered."
Despite the increased number of registered weapons, there are relatively few killings carried out with firearms, Aftenposten wrote.
According to the National Criminal Investigation Service, known as Kripos, out of 154 people were killed in the period between 2012 and 2016, only 15 of them were killed by firearms.
However, the Ministry of Justice told Aftenposten that the work on the new firearms legislation was viewed in conjunction with the revision of the EU's weapons directive and that Norway aimed to ensure that new firearms legislation would be promoted during spring.