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One in three households has a gun

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Cyprus ranks in the top 10 on a list of civilian gun ownership countries compiled by the Small Arms Survey, as one out of three Cypriot households has a firearm.

The Swiss survey notes that the high number of weapons possessed by Cypriots is attributable to the fact that reservists were handed military rifles following the Turkish invasion in 1974.

The US is the leading country with a ratio of 120.5 firearms per 100 residents, up from 88 per 100 in 2011, far surpassing that of other countries worldwide.

Cyprus was ranked seventh on 2018 data with 34 firearms per 100 residents, behind Canada with 34.7.

The Small Arms Survey – a Swiss-based leading research project – estimate that there were 390 million guns in circulation in 2018

According to data released by Cyprus police, many Cypriots own a hunting gun, as 169,989 such rifles are registered.

Some 112,932 people have a license to carry a hunting weapon.

In comments to news site Philenews, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said some hunters have more than one gun under their name.

However, as he noted, authorities cannot determine how many unregistered hunting rifles are out there.

The news comes after one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history; on 24 May, 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers and wounded 17 other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

He shot his grandmother in the forehead at home earlier in the day, severely wounding her.

In Cyprus, according to Police data, in the past ten years, 18 cases of premeditated murder involved the use of a military or hunting gun.

Conditions for obtaining the relevant license for possessing firearms have strict rules and several safeguards.

Police can also say who gets to carry a gun, as the chief has the right to revoke licenses.

According to the gun law, one must be 18 or older, obtain a letter from a doctor that they do not pose a threat and have no conviction for murder, sexual abuse, kidnapping, or arson.