Gun Ownership Surges In Europe Amid Wave Of Terror Attacks, Migrant Crime

Tuesday, January 8, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 01/08/2019

For decades, European countries have historically maintained some of the heaviest restrictions on civilian gun ownership, leaving the rate of firearms in circulation far below comparable levels in the US and South America. But following a string of high-profile terror attacks in recent years, the number of people applying for legal gun ownership in countries including Germany and Belgium has surged, as European citizens become increasingly concerned about personal security in the face of a wave of Islamic terror and an unchecked migration crisis that has led to a surge in crime.

As the Wall Street Journal reported, in Germany, the number of legally registered weapons rose roughly 10% to 6.1 million during the five years through 2017, the most recent year for which data from Germany’s National Weapons Registry was available. Furthermore, permits to carry arms outside of shooting ranges more than tripled to 9,285 during the same period.

Meanwhile, applications for shooting licenses in Belgium almost doubled following the massacre at a Paris concert venue in November 2015, which was followed four months later by an attack in Brussels, offering “a clear indication of why people acquired them,” according to Nils Duquet of the Flemish Peace Institute, who spoke with WSJ for its story.

In Germany, where restrictions on gun ownership are notoriously strict, permits for non-lethal air-powered guns have seen an even larger surge. The number of applications for the weapons, which shoot tear gas or loud blanks, gas roughly doubled in the three years through the end of 2017, to 557,560, according to German government data.

Still, the number of illegal weapons in Europe far outnumbers legal weapons (Western European countries are among the biggest markets for weapons traffickers).

“Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.,” concluded a recent Rand Corp. report.

In 2017, the estimate stood at 44.5 million to 34.2 million, with the weapons typically sourced from the former Yugoslavia or other one-time war zones. Some are even bought online from vendors in the US.

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