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Germans are arming themselves

The number of Germans with a small firearm license has increased significantly. One of the main reasons for this is the migrant assaults in Cologne. In one federal state in the north, the number of firearm owners is particularly high.

Published: September 5, 2019, 9:28 am

    More and more people in Germany have a small gun license – those entitled to carry a deterrent weapon, pepper spray or signal weapons. The proportion in Schleswig-Holstein is especially high.

    Currently, some 640 000 citizens are entitled to carry a deterrent gun or similar weapons, while in 2014, there were only 260 000.

    The latest figures are the result of a survey done by the regional daily, the Rheinische Post at the Interior Ministries of all 16 German federal states. In the past twelve months, the increase amounted to about nine percent compared to the same period last year.

    In relation to the population, the quota of these firearms owners is highest in Schleswig-Holstein (9,6 per 1000 inhabitants) and in Saarland (9,2). The numbers of those holding a small gun license have been rising for years.

    Other statistics show that as of January 2016, exactly 300 949 Small Weapons Cards had been issued, compared to 557 560 by the end of 2017.

    That’s an 85 percent increase in just under two years. If you hold this firearm license, you may legally carry Signal, Irritant, and Weapon Firearms in public.

    The Police Union (GdP) spoke of a “latent feeling of insecurity” in the population. “Ever since the events on the Cologne cathedral plate on New Year’s Eve 2015, more and more people seem to feel insecure,” said GdP chairman Oliver Malchow.

    During the New Year’s Eve celebrations, there were mass sexual assaults, 24 alleged rapes and numerous thefts in Germany, mainly in Cologne’s city center. There were similar incidents at the public celebrations in Hamburg, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Bielefeld and Frankfurt in which mainly migrants were involved.

    The assaults on women in front of the Cologne Central Station are regarded as the trigger for an increase in small gun licenses, security expert Malte Roschinski warned.

    He refered to the then sexual assaults on women by groups of young men from North African and Arab states.

    Also, in the past ten years, many police service weapons have disappeared. At least eleven service weapons have been lost by police in one federal state alone. And in only one case, the police assume theft, dpa reported.

    The North Rhine-Westphalian police have lost eleven service weapons, according to the Ministry of the Interior in Düsseldorf.

    But the ministry did no say how the weapons were lost. The loss of the operational weapons is however noted in the central firearms register.

    Since the beginning of this year, police in NRW also reported 22 digital radios as missing. In this case, there was no indication of theft in any of the cases. Misuse of the radio devices is excluded since the devices can be blocked and prevented from sharing the digital radio network of the police.

    Overall, eleven other service weapons owned by the federal police were either stolen or disappeared throughout Germany. At the beginning of August, it was reported that a submachine gun went missing in Celle, Lower Saxony, in March.

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