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Germans are buying more weapons

Germany are feeling less safe than they did before the migrant crisis, with small arms purchases on the rise.

Published: February 2, 2018, 7:57 am

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    The number of Germans who have acquired weapons permits has risen sharply over the past two years.

    In January 2016, some 300 000 people had a permit to carry for example, non-lethal gas pistols in public. In December 2017 there were over 557 000 such permits issued. While gas pistols are designed to be non-lethal, they can be deadly when fired at close range.

    Weapons retailers say that defensive blinding flashlights, stun guns and gas spray are selling like hotcakes, and they struggle to keep their shelves stocked.

    Self-defense courses are also increasingly popular as Taekwondo clubs, fitness studios, and even municipal community centers are attracting more and more participants, Deutsche Welle reported.

    A public opinion survey from January 2017 showed that a quarter of the population felt that their country was becoming unsafe. The survey, conducted by the opinion research institute Infratest dimap, showed that 23 percent of Germans felt “fairly unsafe” or “very unsafe.”

    Some 32 percent felt “less safe” than they did two years before, while less than a quarter felt “very safe”.

    Dina Hummelsheim-Doss, a sociologist and criminology researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, told DW: “There have been almost no scientific studies. One of the first studies, however, indicates that the feeling of being unsafe in Germany has risen slightly.”

    The Infratest dimap survey showed that many Germans had already taken a number of precautions to ensure their safety. One-third of the poll’s respondents said they avoided certain streets or squares in the evening. Nearly two-thirds said they had a mace or a weapon with them to protect themselves.

    When asked by Infratest dimap which groups of people they feared the most, almost a third of respondents said “foreigners and refugees”.

    Hummelsheim-Doss says safety fears are mostly related to crime. “We know that fear of crime is always very strongly linked to other fears,” she said. “Crime is always a projection of social problems. That is why crime policies should focus more on the social problems of the population.”

    According to criminologist and lawyer Arthur Kreuzer, said: “A mentality of weapons is spreading, mistrust and fears are growing, faith in public security is waning and the state’s monopoly on violence is being undermined.”

     

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