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Alarm gun licenses are applied for more often by Germans

When are German police allowed to use guns? | Germany | News and in-depth  reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 19.06.2020

A newspaper reported that more German small weapons permit (Kleiner Waffenschein) are getting permits to carry gas pistols. Those permits have doubled within the last five years.

According to a study by the Rheinische Post newspaper, some 640,000 Germans now own alarm guns, a figure that has increased by 30,000 since the end of last year. Over 260,000 people held one of these licenses in 2014, which is a huge increase.

New statistics suggest a “latent sense of insecurity” in the population, said the head of one of Germany’s two big police unions.

Oliver Malchow, GdP chairman, said that people feel increasingly unsafe since the events at the Cologne cathedral square on New Year’s Eve in 2015, which involved dozens of North African young men picking pockets and harassing pedestrians. As a result of the incident, there were a large number of applications.

It’s fairly easy to obtain a Kleiner Waffenschein in Germany: their issuance is normally open to anyone who is at least 18 years old and has never been convicted of a serious crime, as well as mentally and physically fit.

Permit holders are able to carry gas pistols that fire loud blanks in public, but they are not allowed to keep such pistols at home.

Problems that could arise

Malchow also expressed concern about the potential dangers of the widespread use of starting pistols on the streets because they look like real firearms and can still be lethal at close range.

He said that they imply a false sense of security or an increased level of self-defense readiness. As a result, the situation can escalate quickly, and the user can end up becoming the perpetrator.

He said that more police presence in public would be an effective way to improve security on German streets.

Based on data compiled by the newspaper from all 16 German states’ interior ministries, it was estimated that almost 5.4 million actual firearms were privately owned in Germany in 2018, about 27,000 more than a year earlier. The majority of these weapons were rifles, rather than handguns.

KNA, DPA, bk/ng

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