European Gun Sales Surge Amid Terrorist Threat, Refugee Immigration
A number of European countries have seen their gun sales take off as people feel insecure after the recent wave of terror.
Weapon sellers in several countries attribute the rise to terror attacks and the mass arrival of refugees over the past year. Applications for gun permits have gone up significantly in Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic. In places with stricter gun laws, such as Germany, non-lethal guns and pepper spray have become alternatives.
“There’s no official explanation for the rise, but in general we see a connection to Europe’s terrorist attacks,” Hanspeter Kruesi, a police spokesman in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen, told Reuters.
The total number of gun permits have gone up by 6,000 in the Czech Republic during 2016 following years of decline. President Milos Zeman used to advocate gun control, but called for easier access to guns in July following the terror attack in Nice.
“Earlier I spoke against possession of large amounts of weapons [in the hands of the people],” Zeman said in a July interview with newspaper Blesk. “After those attacks, I do not think so any more.”
The number of permits issued for non-lethal weapons went up 49 percent in Germany during the first seven months of the year.
Following a spree of terrorist attacks in late July, German politicians have been divided on whether to tighten or loosen its gun laws.
Frauke Petry, the leader of Germany’s nationalist party Alternative fur Deutschland, wants to give Germans the right to own guns for self-protection.
“Every law-abiding citizen should be able to defend themselves, their family and their friends,” Petry said Saturday in an interview with Funke Media Group.
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