Skip to comments.Gun Laws Under Scrutiny in Europe (complete ban)
Posted on 04/26/2002 5:15:40 PM PDT by Dallas
Recent multiple shootings in France and Switzerland, and the slaying of 17 people in a German school Friday is prompting re-examination of gun laws in Europe, where restrictions are generally tight.
European politicians have begun discussions of existing gun laws, and concerned groups in Austria and Britain have called for outright weapons bans.
In Germany, two hours after a 19-year-old expelled student began killing teachers and students in Erfurt, the nation's parliament approved a government proposal to tighten weapons laws.
The proposal, which must go to the upper house, requires a license to carry gas-powered and blank pistols, banned several kinds of knives completely and mandated separate storage of guns and ammunition.
In Austria, where gun laws already are highly restrictive, a Vienna lawyers' association on Friday called for a sweeping ban to keep all weapons out of the hands of ordinary citizens.
In France, politicians began taking a long look at gun laws last month after a man wielding two Glock semiautomatic pistols and a .357 Magnum shot dead eight city officials in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.
Questions were raised about how Richard Durn, a gun aficionado who was deeply disturbed, was able to obtain semiautomatic pistols and keep them even though his license had expired.
Both Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and President Jacques Chirac called for a new look at France's strict gun laws. They require gun permits to be renewed every three years, and gun owners must receive regular supervised practice.
Even Switzerland is reconsidering its gun laws, which are the most relaxed in Western Europe. The country is often used by the U.S. gun lobby as an example of a country that has a lot of privately owned guns and little violent crime.
But last September, a man -- Friedrich Leibacher -- went on the rampage in the regional parliament in the wealthy northern Swiss city of Zug. He killed 14 people and himself, apparently over a grudge against a local official.
The attack shocked Switzerland and prompted the country to tighten security around public places. The government said it planned to tighten gun laws, although nothing has yet been done about this.
Switzerland's part-time militia keep their weapons at home. New laws in 1999 required anyone buying a gun from a store to have a permit, which is issued by local police or authorities in the different Swiss cantons, or states.
But the only document required in a private sale is a sale contract.
In Scotland on Friday, parents whose children were slain in the 1996 Dunblane kindergarten shooting appealed for Europe-wide gun curbs.
Britain, which already had some of the strictest gun laws in Europe, tightened them still further after Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane's village primary school six years ago and shot to death 16 small children and their teacher with four licensed handguns.
"Although the majority of people who use them are law-abiding, handguns are lethal and we can't risk letting dangerous people have such guns," said Anne Pearston, head of the Snowdrop Campaign, an anti-handgun group including parents of Dunblane's slain or injured children.
Handguns were outlawed in Britain in 1997 and some 160,000 handguns were surrendered to police. But last July, a report by the Center for Defense Studies at King's College, London, found that illegal handguns were being used more frequently in crimes.
Sweden has very strict gun control laws. Licenses are largely reserved for certified hunters or for target shooting by people who belong to clubs. Collectors or security guards also can be authorized.
"The major problem now is that firearms are being smuggled into Sweden and that's something we're considering how to combat," said Anders Perklev, a spokesman for the Swedish Justice Ministry. "The problem is that illegal firearms are more often found among criminals."
Greece bans private ownership of all rifles, and ownership of handguns and their ammunition is highly regulated.
Handgun licenses are difficult to get. A person has to apply to the police and be examined by a medical doctor, a psychiatrist and an eye doctor, all of whom have to issue an official certificate.
Even then, police approve only about 5 percent of all applications.
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press
The school shooting in Germany was well timed. If you want to get the knee-jerk reactionaries fired up, you need a heinous event.
All the laws they can ever write won't stop a psycho from doing his thing. They can only provide lots and lots of unarmed victims.
Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State.
"When we got organized as a country, [and] wrote a fairly radical Constitution, with a radical Bill of Rights, giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly...When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it."
Bill Clinton(April 19 1994, on MTV)
Ms. Pearson has certainly helped eliminate violent crime in Britain, right? And now they're considering more restrictions in France and Germany because of a few wackos running amuck? These people have no understanding of individual responsibility for self. I think they're hopeless.
More nonsense from the euro-peons.
I'm surprised the canuckistanis or Japs aren't in on this one.
They don't have a prayer and they don't have self-defense.
They left out pointy sticks.
They say that those who don't know history, are condemned to repeat it. But those who do know history, seem to repeat it also.
"The school shooting in Germany was well timed... All the laws they can ever write won't stop a psycho from doing his thing."
Well, it wasn't timed all that well. For more effective timing, these psychos need to coordinate their attacks with each other better. That way, the second part of your statement would not be so obvious. For example, it makes the German lower house members look pretty stupid when, after they have just spent all that time in Parliament talking about how their new, more oppressive laws will stop things like that school shooting from happening, along comes some psycho in India who kills 10 people with an ax, proving the ineffectiveness of the legislation that they just passed.
Of course, I can just imagine the weird liberal responses of those same Parliament wackos now. Rather than face the fact that, even banning all guns entirely won't have any effect on stopping the sickos from going on a killing spree, they are probably calling their counterparts in India right now, with a whole bunch of suggested ax control measures. Some of the measures being suggested probably include:
I'm sure that some in the German Parliament are suggesting even more strenuous measures than those listed above. But, most of them are probably holding back on the more restrictive suggestions, seeing them as being unlikely to receive broad public support. However, I am sure that there have probably been calls for ax manufacturers to develop "smart ax technology".
The libs just don't get it. They don't understand that the only way to help insure that these atrocities don't happen, or at least don't get out of hand, is to remove all restrictions on private gun ownership and gun possession in public places. As long as the intended victims and those around them are not armed, these sickos will continue to carry out their deadly desires and nothing that the lawmakers do to restrict weapons will make a difference. Yet, just one teacher with a gun in a pocket or purse could have stopped that German idiot cold, long before the toll reached 17. If most teachers had been armed, he might never have even got started.
As the case in India proves, if a gun isn't available, an ax will kill a person just as dead. If an ax isn't available, then a hammer or a kitchen knife will be used. But then, there is always the possibility of "smart kitchen knife technology" and safer, less sharp kitchen knives.
Two observations for your consideration:
The Japanese manufacture some high-quality firearms they may not own in Japan.
We have a large Japanese-owned manufacturing complex near us (Lexington,KY.) As a result, we have many Japanese nationals here on "temporary" assignment (rotation.) While here, a surprising number buy handguns (somehow) and spend a fair amount of time at local ranges shooting. They thoroughly enjoy themselves!
I'm wondering how long it will be until the gun ownership laws in Japan are relaxed for folks like we see so often.
I love the BS terminology "journalists" use. The translation is that they're making air rifles (like BB guns) and starter pistols illegal. Banning BB guns is definitely going to cut down on the number of school massacres.