Police chief Peter Thorsell is well known among Sweden’s firearms owners, and it is about time he gets introduced to the rest of Europe. There are in fact similarities with some parts of the firearms directive and Thorsell’s earlier suggestions and opinions. There’s also a clear connection between the European Commission, the work in GENVAL and Swedish police Peter Thorsell.
“If they want to play war they can take up paintball” – Peter Thorsell
“We run the risk of mass shootings” – Peter Thorsell
Debate article in Swedish main press
One of the responses from Thorsell regarding the firearms directive was to publish a highly opinionated debate article in one of Swedens largest newspapers. Thorsell urged hunters to have a closer look at the proposal, claiming hunters would not be affected and that the proposal was only about banning military firearms used for combat.
Stating that hunters are not shot at, so there is no need for firearms that can use large capacity magazines. While true that we don’t use large magazines when hunting, we all know most, if not all, semi-automatic rifles use a magazine, and can therefore use any capacity magazine. Therefore being affected by the proposals from GENVAL.
Thorsell also recites parts of a first-page article from New York Times, that it’s a shame that civilians can own firearms specifically designed to “brutally and effectively kill humans”. Firearms that Thorsell claims are “purposely advertised for a macho culture”. The more of these firearms there are in society, the more we risk mass-shootings and tragic violence, he claims.
Thorsell also mentions that these firearms are used for “combat like” sport shooting, referring to IPSC Rifle. While it is true that semi-automatic rifles are used for sport shooting, they are not used for anything that is combat like. It is clear that the article was designed to divide and conquer by dividing sport shooters and hunters, by falsely calming worried hunters and to rally support from the masses by using scare tactics about sportshooting. Thorsell of course failed to mention that semi-automatic rifles owned and used for sport shooting have never been used to commit crime in Sweden.
Hunters want automatic weapons?
Sadly, this was however neither the first time nor the last time police chief Thorsell used media to politicize his obvious agenda. Thorsell has often been seen in media. Not long ago, but still before the proposal from the European commission, Swedish television TV4 ran two news stories. One about hunters and the other about sport shooting.
The headline was ”hunters want automatic weapons”. The headline in the article online was later changed after pressure from the hunting community, but the damage was already done to the justifiably good reputation of Swedish hunters. The news segment spun a story that more and more hunters want semi-automatic rifles that resemble military weapons, a trend that the police want to stop.
No facts to this claim was given by Thorsell even though the reporter asked for it. The story was published anyway. As a side note, military semi-automatics, or semi-automatic rifles that resemble military weapons are not allowed by law for hunting. In the broadcasted news story that was supposed to be about hunters they showed a Youtube clip from USA, picturing someone emptying a full magazine at a range, with a weapon that is by law not even allowed in Sweden (barrel is too short).
The same model, Benelli MR1, but in a different configuration is however allowed by the government agency mandated to decide what is allowed to use when hunting, the environmental protection agency. Police still won’t license this weapon claiming it is a military weapon, however it is not.
It is not even certain that the proposal from European commission would ban this weapon since it’s only a category B4 rifle. A civilian rifle designed for hunting, according to Benelli themself. This fact has also been verified by the police forensic agency, a fact that Thorsell more than likely is aware of but fails to mention.
Thorsell has in other cases been known to do the same in court. Withholding technical forensic reports from the court that are to his disadvantage.
IPSC to dangerous?
The second story interviews a police colleague to Thorsell, arguing that rifles used for IPSC are too dangerous and should only be licensed for 5 years at a time. The same way it works for pistols. The problem is that when it’s time to renew a license many pistol shooters run into problems. It has become obvious that the police are making it as hard as they can for sport shooters.
Recently very successful, 8 time Swedish champion Robert Andersson was denied a license for a new pistol. Police claimed he was not actively competing enough with his two current pistols. If Robert Andersson is not active enough, no one is. To be able to compete in another division the Swedish champion will need to take the matter to court.
As it turns out, after someone made a request for all emails between Peter Thorsell and TV channel TV4 it all became clear. Peter Thorsell was the reason TV4 broadcasted the news stories that portrayed hunters and sport shooters in a very bad manner. Peter Thorsell had supplied the reporter with a lot of information that best can be described as propaganda. Some of the so called facts about weapons was clearly false, other details was misleading. Peter Thorsell also linked to over ten youtube-videos. None that portrayed hunting in a fair manner.
Peter Thorsell is also the one who decides which sport shooting clubs can issue valid certificates to members, a certificate that is needed when applying for a firearms license at the police. When a sport shooting club turned to media in despair when they ran into problems Thorsells answer was:
“If they want to play war they can take up paintball” and that “we run the risk if mass-shootings”.
Again mentioning that “it’s a powerful weapon that can use a large capacity magazine that can be changed out quickly”.
When the law is not enough, make up your own
In at least three recent cases Peter Thorsell motivated to deny a firearms license by refereeing to the proposed firearms directive from the European commission. That an officer of the law even attempts such a thing in a modern democratic society is beyond belief. Again this was about a civilian hunting rifle.
Even amongst Police themselves people are starting to react to what is going on. Worried that it is damaging peoples trust in police, police inspector Niklas Tuvesson tells a story in Swedish media about how Swedish police are making up their own rules to deny hunters and sport shooters their firearms license.
Another tactic by Swedish police: taking things to court
This is for two reasons. One is to simply obstruct and make it as hard as possible for firearms owners, the other reason is to basically change how the law is practiced by winning court cases and referring to them as precedent cases. Essentially making the law more restrictive than intended without changing the actual law.
In a way Swedish police now not only uphold the law, they interpret and in a way rewrite how the law is practiced. Most cases that are won and used to deny licenses are cases where cases when the applicant trusted the system and didn’t use juridical representation in court. So take it from the Swedes, do not take anything to court without legal representation. Being the police, courts have a lot of trusts for them and their supplied information, similar information that was supplied to the TV4 reporter.
Often the same misleading scare tactics that take things out of context can be seen. Cases that the police lose are quickly forgotten, and cases they win will be used to deny licenses for all future applicants. And with a legal team with unlimited funds of tax payers money they can afford to lose. For instance, the police have lost over 15 times in court regarding the same type of firearm.
All this would not be possible unless chiefs higher up mandated it. After one of the clearly politicizing articles was published, Thorsells chief Lars Tonneman was contacted. By the reply it stands clear that the Lars Tonneman and the Swedish police stands behind Thorsell in all this.
Peter Thorsell in Brussels
As it turns out, Nils Hänninger, Peter Thorsell and Lars Tonneman all have history and Peter Thorsell has been involved with the work in Brussels regarding the firearms directive.
Even the Swedish Minister of Interior Anders Ygeman is involved in the highly undemocratic process.
We’ll uncover more of this in part 2 of this post that will be published soon. Stay tuned.
See this as a heads up to fellow shooters and hunters across Europe. If you see these things starting to happen in your country, where law that has been valid for years suddenly changes in how it is practiced, be very vary.
Your country might have caught the Thorsell-disease, where civil servants make up the law as they go while the government turns a blind eye. Tell us about!