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National gun register poised for 2013 launch
Photo: DPA

National gun register poised for 2013 launch

Published: 20 Nov 2012 12:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Nov 2012 12:20 GMT+01:00

Germany's first national weapons register should be online at the start of next year to provide information about the six million legally-held guns in the country, authorities said on Tuesday.

Until now, keeping track of weapons has been the duty of 551 different local authorities and much of the information was held on paper.

But civil servants in Cologne have been collating and computerising the data since April, and the national database should be live from January 1.

The new database would offer a “considerable improvement to safety in Germany,” said Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who has been in charge of the project, which also fulfils EU guidelines that member states should adopt by 2014.

Requests for information about weapons from local authorities could take months to process and the new system would make investigations easier and quicker, said president of the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) Jörg Ziercke.

The BKA had been saying for years that the original system had to change.

Police trade union GdP welcomed the register, saying it would mean officers called out to a disturbance would be able to check whether a gun was registered at the location. Such information could save lives, said GdP head Bernhard Witthaut.

But socialist party Die Linke voiced concern that Friedrich had been too hasty in launching the facility. MP Frank Tempel said he was worried that it would not be able to completely replace the old system in January.

Parliament decided on the national register in April of this year at least in part as a reaction to two massacres over the past decade.

A 19-year-old shot 13 teachers, two students and a police officer at his former school in Erfurt in 2002, before killing himself. Seven years later a 17-year-old shot and killed 15 people in and around his school in Winnenden before also killing himself.

Gun crime, never high in Germany when compared with many other countries, dropped considerably over the past decade – in 2000, police registered 19,400 crimes in which involved a firearm. By 2011, this figure stood at 11,700.

Of the 2011 statistics, 5,600 were shootings and 132 were incidents in which a gun was involved in a murder, manslaughter or assisted suicide investigation.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:58 November 20, 2012 by zeddriver
Wasn't there a former German leader that advocated "national" registration? And It worked. For the government.
14:21 November 20, 2012 by lucksi
And what about the 10 million illegal weapons? Where are those registered?
16:06 November 20, 2012 by inccmdr
That "leader" did the same thing in Austria. Does one believe the Hell's Angels and the psychopaths are getting their guns legally? That registration will stop a crime.?How pathetic...but politically correct at least. Always choose an easy answer when confronting the issue of criminal violence.
19:46 November 20, 2012 by Englishted
I may be wrong but in thetwo massacres over the past decade I thought both guns were held legally ?.

This must rate as one of the slowest knee jerk reactions in history.
20:09 November 20, 2012 by Hendrich Stein
¦quot;This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!¦quot; - Adolph Hitler, 1935
21:53 November 20, 2012 by PNWDev
What? No posts yet blaming the gun for the crimes? Come on, I know you are out there.
22:17 November 20, 2012 by LaserGuy
Canada just shut down their registry of 'long guns' .. 'Short guns' still have to be registered, but the 'short gun' registry is every bit as useless as the one they just shut down.. I can't understand Germany's thinking! History does repeat itself, and this will likely not bode well for minorities again!
01:04 November 21, 2012 by smokerjd
Just like laserguy says.....Canada shut it down after millions of dollars were wasted. I thought Germany was a progressive country. It's not registering guns, It's registering honest people with guns, not criminals with guns. It will become an expensive joke just like in Canada.
01:18 November 21, 2012 by Valkyrie1944
How has vehicle registration reduced the number of deaths on German Highways?

Do you blame the driver or the car?

In all of recorded history, registration of any item either leads to taxation or confiscation.

But then, the authorities don't tax my washing machine in Texas ... yet!
12:51 November 21, 2012 by alterjank
I think that's the first time I've seen a scope on a shotgun.
20:55 November 21, 2012 by Englishted
@ PNWDev

I'll do it then ,without a gun there could be no gun crime is that correct?
23:54 November 21, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Both of the teenage shooters in Germany were on anti-depressants as were all of those in the U.S.. That is something that Big Pharma does not want you to know. Don`t take my word for it, check it out for yourselves. It`s not the guns, it`s the drugs.

As Hendrich Stein points out, dictators want to take your guns away so that they can have a free hand.

The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of the American people to bear arms. The Founding Founders did this to ensure that tyrants, foreign AND domestic, would not be able to trample on the peoples` rights through force of arms. The psychopaths in power are compelled to respect an armed citizenry. It`s the only thing they understand.
19:51 November 22, 2012 by Englishted
@Leo Strauss

Sorry but I have to disagree ,where I come from there is a restriction on gun ownership but I don't recall there being a dictatorship ,some political parties holding power that I didn't agree with , but no dictators .

How come you believe Adolf on this one with his track record of truth telling ?.

"The Founding Founders " would not have approved of the way the National Guard is sometimes used against its own people another thing that my country has not had to resort to thank goodness.
02:29 November 23, 2012 by Leo Strauss
@Englishted

Well, you have a constitutional monarchy now, but first the royals had to be sorted during your Civil War, didn`t they? You did this with hand weapons instead of firearms like the Americans but the principle is the same. Nothing like a good hiding, exile and beheading to remind the tyrant that he is not God`s representative on earth, but rather a robber-baron.

The Founding Fathers understood that the people have to be able to defend their liberty, sometimes with force.

I completely agree with your National Guard comment.
21:29 November 25, 2012 by truth is treason
10 reasons to band guns. The first step is to register the guns.

1. Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, Detroit & Chicago cops need guns.

2. Washington DC¦#39;s low murder rate of 69 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Indianapolis¦#39;s high murder rate of 9 per 100,000 is due to the lack of gun control.

3. Statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control but statistics showing increasing murder rates after gun control are ¦quot;just statistics.¦quot;

4. The Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, both of which went into effect in 1994 are responsible for the decrease in violent crime rates, which have been declining since 1991.

5. We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.

6. The more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals or the safer the criminals are from you.

7. An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

8. A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.

9. When confronted by violent criminals, you should ¦quot;put up no defense ­ give them what they want, or run¦quot;

10. The New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice about guns; just like Guns & Ammo has some excellent treatises on heart surgery.

Reminds me of a joke: A policeman stops a redneck in a SUV. The Redneck had a Conceal carry permit. The Policeman finds a 45 in the glove compartment, Magnum.357 in his holster, hunting rife and scope on the back seat and an AR16 and pump action 12 bore shotgun in his boot. The policeman comes back and asks the Redneck "What exactly are you scared of?" The Redneck says " Absolutely Nothing"
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