In an interview with the Funke Media Group, Frauke Petry, the head of a right wing party – Alternative for Germany (AfD) said, “Every law-abiding citizen should be able to defend themselves, their family and their friends.”
Petry was responding to questions about reports that more Germans are obtaining guns following the violence last month.
Following reports that the 18-year-old assailant, who killed nine people in a shooting spree in Munich in July had bought the weapon through a less-regulated part of the internet, often referred to as the “dark web,” a debate about further tightening gun laws has emerged.
Gun regulations in Germany are considered among the strictest in the world. The current law, the German Weapons Act regulates the handling of knives, firearms and ammunition as well as acquisition, storage, commerce and maintenance of weapons. It also defines certain forbidden items such as nunchakus, switchblades and brass knuckles and bans their possession and distribution.
Germany’s National Gun Registry introduced at the end of 2012 counted 5.5 million firearms in use, which are legally owned by 1.4 million people in the country. However, estimates of the actual guns in use go as high as 45 Million. While gun ownership is widespread and associations and ranges for shooting sports and the use of historical guns and weapons in festivals are not outlawed, the use of guns for private, self-defense purposes is restricted.
“Apparently, Ms. Petry wants the state to surrender and citizens to protect themselves in Wild West fashion,” Thomas Strobl, the deputy party chief of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union, said in response.
“It’s, however, the state that has to ensure the security of its citizens,” Strobl said.