Germany proposes stricter gun laws in wake of Munich shooting
Germany already has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world, but that isn't stopping politicians from pushing for even more anti-gun legislation.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain that the country "must continue to do all we can to limit and strictly control access to deadly weapons" while Interior Minister
Thomas de Maizieretold the Bild am Sonntag newspaper in a separate interview that "we have to evaluate very carefully if and where further legal changes are needed."
Ali David Sonboly, 18, the dual German-Iranian national behind Friday's attack outside a shopping mall in which nine people died, obtained his Glock firearm illegally and he did not have a license, investigators said Saturday. But he would have struggled to meet Germany's stringent requirements for legal possession even if he did.
Applicants under 25 must undergo a series of tough checks that include whether the person has a history of mental health issues. Sonboly suffered from depression. They must also pass tests about gun knowledge and get approval for what the weapon will be used for. Unlike in the United States, there is no guaranteed right to bear arms.
All this didn't stop Sonboly from acquiring an illicit weapon of course, but it does appear to have helped Germany reduce gun-related deaths to 57 last year, down from more than 800 in 1995, according to the website GunPolicy.org. This compares with about 13,445 people killed in the U.S. by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
What more can they do to make it next to impossible to buy a gun? I'm sure they'll think of something - some imaginary step that they will claim will make them safer.
It's not at all clear that Sonboly bought the gun legally. Early reports said the gun had its registration number filed off. Gun stores usually don't do that, so it's possible the shooter bought his gun illegally. How would any legislation have stopped him from buying a gun? The politicians will not have an answer for that.
There are more than 5 million legal firearms in Germany but there are 20 million illegal guns. Short of going door to door to search for the illegal weapons, Germany has few options to toughen up its gun control laws.