June 25, 2016


Officials: German hostage taker had no real firearms (Deutsche-Welle, 6/25/16)

The man who took over a cinema in western Germany carried only air guns and dummy grenades, German prosecutors have said. Police killed the 19-year-old while storming the scene. [...]

The attacker's weapons turned out to be air gun replicas made to look like real firearms, prosecutors said. The investigators found no live ammunition at the scene and the alleged hand grenades also turned out to be fake.
None of the hostages, who also included children, was hurt in the incident.

Sources within Germany's security forces have claimed the man acted alone and probably had mental issues.

After its own mass shootings, Germany beefed up gun control laws. The number of shootings dropped. (Erik Kirschbaum, 6/15/16, LA Times)

Germans are known to admire America and its freedoms, but they were horrified by the arrival of distinctly American-style school shootings in their backyard in Erfurt in 2002 and Winnenden in 2009. They have been equally as shocked by the shooting deaths by a lone gunman at a nightclub in Florida on Sunday and baffled by the United States' inability to stop the scourge.

Germans so universally condemned the loss of life after Erfurt and Winnenden that there was nary any protest when lawmakers unceremoniously imposed a draconian clampdown on guns in the wake of the shooting rampages that left 31 victims dead. 

Germany, where gun ownership had already been treated as a privilege rather than an inherent right, made it even harder to own a firearm. It is now the only country in the world where anyone younger than 25 has to pass a psychiatric exam before he or she is allowed to apply for a gun license. Anyone applying for a gun has to wait a year, pass rigorous tests and have a legitimate reason for owning a gun.

"The numbers of people killed in Germany by guns has been falling steadily for several years, and a large part of the reason for that is the tougher laws and diminished availability of guns," said Dagmar Ellerbrock, a history professor and authority on gun crime at Dresden's Technical University.

"In the 19th century, guns were really popular in Germany, and the situation was similar to the way it is in the United States now. But tough laws changed all that. On top of that, there has been widespread social repudiation of guns in Germany. Since World War II and the Red Army terror wave of the 1970s, guns have not been seen as anything masculine at all but rather reactionary and in a really negative light," Ellerbrock said.

Posted by at June 25, 2016 8:24 AM