An 18-year-old “German-Iranian” believed to have acted alone killed 9 people (and injured 27) in a shooting spree with a pistol at a busy shopping center in Munich on Friday evening. Here are some facts about acquiring and owning a gun in Germany.
1. Germany has some of the “most stringent” rules around gun control in Europe, according to the U.S. Library of Congress (read this).
2. To own a gun in Germany, it is necessary to obtain a weapon license for which applicants must generally be at least 18 years old and show they have they have a reason for needing a weapon.
3. German authorities can prohibit anyone who is dependent on drugs or alcohol or is mentally ill from obtaining a gun license. People under 25 have to undergo a psychiatric test.
4. After a teenager shot 15 people dead at a school in the southwestern town of Winnenden in 2009, Germany tightened the rules around firearms. Among other things, authorities were given greater authority to check whether guns were stored securely when not in use, and can make spot checks.
5. Almost 5.5 million firearms are owned privately in Germany by around 1.4 million people, according to data from the German Firearms Register in 2013. Germany’s population is about 82 million.
6. There are up to 20 million illegal firearms in Germany, the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cited experts in Germany as saying in January. (By comparison, website GunPolicy.org says 270-310 million legal and illegal firearms are owned by civilians in the USA, where the population is ~324 mio)
7. The German Federal Criminal Police Office said in its 2015 report that the use of firearms had been on a downward trend for years. In 2015 there were 4,289 cases of people being threatened with firearms – the lowest level since 1993.
8. There were 57 gun homicides in Germany in 2015, up from 42 in 2014 – compared with 804 in 1995, according to website GunPolicy.org
(Reuters.com by Michelle Martin & Erik Kirschbaum & Maria Sheahan)