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German Massacre = more Gun Control

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Minuteman, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    You knew it was coming.........

    German Massacre Raises Issue of Gun Control in Europe

    </DIR></DIR>By BRUCE CRUMLEY / PARIS Bruce Crumley / Paris – 1 hr 3 mins ago

    Europeans might once have viewed massacres at educational institutions as a uniquely American scourge, but they no longer have that luxury: Friday found Germany still mourning the 16 victims of Wednesday's carnage in Winnenden, while Scotland marked the 13th anniversary of Europe's first mass school shooting, the bloodbath at Dunblane in which 16 grade-school students and their teacher were mowed down by a lone gunman. Clearly, Europe has a problem to which there's no simple solution.
    "When you compare us to countries with enormous gun ownership like the U.S., it's obvious we're less vulnerable to gun violence," says Christophe Soullez, chief of France's National Observatory on Delinquency. "But less vulnerable doesn't mean fully protected. Guns are more difficult to get here, but they can be and are obtained - and, at times, used." (See pictures of gun crime in the U.S.)
    The killing spree by 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer in Winnenden provided another reminder that while increasingly stiff gun-control legislation has slowed the incidence of gun violence, it has failed to halt the phenomenon. Since Dunblane in 1996, there have been 11 school massacres across Europe, which left at least 70 people dead and 80 wounded. And most of them followed a similar pattern.
    "When a lone individual snaps and a gun is available, the potential for violence is just horrible," says Marc TrÉvidic, an investigating magistrate in France's special antiterrorism division. "Usually that involves someone grabbing their father's hunting rifle and shooting until they're overwhelmed. But when automatic weapons are involved, it's a different story. Fortunately, those are far harder to obtain."
    Harder, but not impossible.
    Kretschmer used a semiautomatic pistol he obtained at home - the only one of his father's 15 guns that was not kept under lock and key. Seven years earlier, expelled student Robert Steinhause had killed 18 people at a school in the German town of Erfurt, using weapons obtained legally. That massacre had provoked Germany to considerably tighten its gun legislation to the point that it is now among the most stringent in Europe. That was still not enough to prevent Kretschmer's killing spree.
    Other European countries have also stiffened gun laws over the past decade, and many are going even further now. Unlike the U.S., whose courts recognize a constitutional right to bear arms, European nations tend to view gun ownership as a responsibility that must be both justified and earned. Finland, which saw two school massacres in 2007 and 2008, last week banned the ownership of firearms by anyone under 20. Portugal is moving to increase penalties for the use of guns in crimes, while Denmark is doubling the sentence for unauthorized possession of arms.
    Even Switzerland, whose militia defense system permits people to keep automatic weapons in their homes (there are an estimated 1.5 million nationwide), is planning a referendum on rescinding that right. People in favor of a ban say prolific gun ownership has fueled a recent spate of suicides and murders, including the killing of a family of four near Geneva this month in a suspected domestic incident.
    Though it may pale in comparison to America's 88.8 registered weapons per hundred people, the rate of gun ownership in Europe is higher than one might imagine. In Switzerland there are 45.7 guns per hundred people; in Finland, 45.3; France's 31.2 is a little higher than Germany's 30.3. The U.K., which banned most gun ownership after two massacres, has a rate of 6.2 registered guns per 100 people.
    "Statistically, France is lucky," says Aaron Karp, professor of political science at Virginia's Old Dominion University and a senior consultant with the Small Arms Survey in Switzerland. "As for why Germany and Finland have suffered more mass gun violence, I don't think anyone knows."
    What may be more instructive, Karp counters, is how stringent gun-control laws have helped reduce rates of gun violence elsewhere. Following the 1996 Port Arthur massacre that killed 35 people, Australia banned all semiautomatic rifles and shotguns and passed strict laws requiring trigger locks and secure storage of guns in homes. "That is the next step for Europe," Karp says, noting that such controls could have prevented Wednesday's killings. "Making that move will be easier in Europe than in the U.S., because no one in Europe dares pretend they own a gun for their own defense."
    Experts believe that tightening controls on Europe's legally owned guns may be more important than curbing the flow of illegal weapons into Europe.
    "You need connections and money to buy black-market guns, and crazed people who decide to go kill usually don't have the time or information to procure illegal arms in time," says TrÉvidic. Even when gang members and other delinquents acquire weapons, Soullez says, they're careful about using them. "Up to now, using guns against each other - and most of all, against police - has been that last barrier of violence they haven't wanted to jump," Soullez notes. "As we've seen, guns are most dangerous in the hands of normal people pushed over the boundaries of sanity, because then we have no idea when or how they'll use them."

  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    So just ban insanity. Yeesh.


  3. Cephus

    Cephus Monkey+++ Founding Member

    In European countries it won't be long before there will be no guns they will have band
    everything but ROCKS------

    But many years ago that was the weapon of choice .
  4. Pauly Walnuts

    Pauly Walnuts Monkey++

    Ahh yes, punish millions for one persons insanity? If an insane man runs over a crowd of people shall we ban automobiles?
  5. toemag

    toemag Monkey++

    This happened a couple of hundred KM's away from where I live and the crap has seriously started flying, the IWA (Shot Show, for us €uropeans), took place this weekend as well in Nuremberg, and all of the press were pissed off that it wasn't cancelled as a sign of respect. BTW, I was there on Saturday & Sunday.

    Today at work during the break I was confronted by some of my co-workers on this subject, they didn't like the way it turned out but that's the way these things go.

    I was asked when I was going to go postal?, and I asked them what they meant by that, and they said like the kid did near Stuttgart, as I have the guns at home and have the keys for them. I just asked them how they got to work that morning, and as most of them own their own cars and drive themselves, I asked them who is looking after your car keys while you are working? In the pregnant pause that followed I admitted that it was probably a bad comparison as their cars are an accepted method of transport and the number of DUI or other RTA's that have large death tolls can't be compared to my guns that I own and use for target shooting and hunting, as that's all that I use them for, and to be quite honest You'll all die of stupidity before I do anything to you.

    I'm getting sick and tired of having to defend my hobby every time some brain-dead individual does something stupid with a firearm. Car owners are never required to explain why one of their number was DUI and ran into a crowded bus stop and killed 20+ people so why should I?

    Unfortunately we the shooters and hunters will have to carry the real burden for this although I'm an innocent man, I didn't do anything.[dunno]

    They are talking of raising the legal age for those wanting to own a firearm, and they will have to have a psychological test/assessment done at their own expense whether its a positive one or not, I just hope that this also applies to people applying to vote and getting a drivers licence, or even applying to join the armed forces.

  6. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    "As we've seen, guns are most dangerous in the hands of normal people pushed over the boundaries of sanity, because then we have no idea when or how they'll use them."

    This was an apallingly STUPID statement.

    The last time a co-worker told me, "When you go POSTAL, remember I'm your friend!"
    I told him, "You will be last then...." :D

    He failed to see the humor in that......
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