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Germans place fourth for gun ownership
Photo: DPA

Germans place fourth for gun ownership

Published: 17 Feb 2013 11:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Feb 2013 11:07 GMT+01:00

Figures compiled for Germany’s new National Weapons Registry reveal that there are 5.4 million legally owned guns in the country, making it the world's fourth most-armed nation per capita.

Der Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday that the state of Bavaria topped the list with 1.1 million, followed by North Rhine-Westphalia with 1 million and Baden-Württemberg with 700,000.

The new national gun register bundles together the data from over 500 local authorities, which were previously not interconnected. Some still had not even digitized their records, and still kept weapons ownership information on index cards.

Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, decided to introduce the weapons registry in April of last year, exactly a decade after 16 people were killed in a shooting rampage at a school in the eastern city of Erfurt.

More recently in 2009, 16 people died and nine were injured in a shooting at a school in Winnenden in southwestern Germany. On Friday, Germany’s Constitutional Court rejected a claim by parents of victims of the massacre that German gun laws introduced since the shooting spree did not provide citizens with adequate protection.

The Winnenden gunman used his father's legally-owned weapon to carry out the shootings. Since the shooting spree took place, the legal age for owning firearms has been raised, and those failing to store their weapons safely could now face a prison sentence.

The European Union has called for every member country to bring in a central weapons registry before the end of 2014. According to per capita data, Germany comes in fourth place behind the United States, Switzerland and Finland for private gun ownership, ahead of Mexico, South Africa and Russia.

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Your comments about this article

11:56 February 17, 2013 by pepsionice
Before anyone gets excited here....consider the big picture. Until the EU directive got dumped on them....this really wasn't a priority with the German police. They might have eventually gotten around to it, but they would admit that they were happy with town by town registration, and didn't see any big issues.

The use of this database to solve crimes? It'll shock me if after five years...the cops admit they've solved more than five crimes utilizing the database. There just aren't that many gun crimes around Germany to make this very useful.

Finally, if you consider all of the measures that it takes to own a gun in Germany....making it almost the toughest place to own a gun....and yet there are still an occasional mass shooting, it says more about society than the guns itself. You just can't outlaw insane people.
12:36 February 17, 2013 by Englishted
@pepsionice

"You just can't outlaw insane people. " correct but you can try to make sure they can't get guns. Less guns less gun crime .
12:53 February 17, 2013 by JWS
Englishted,

With that logic one could argue that with less humans we would have less human crime. That is a dangerous standard to set.
13:46 February 17, 2013 by zeddriver
this proves the point that a lot of Americans have been making for a long time. And surprisingly one made by President Obama in Chicago this week. It's a human morality issue. Parents don't parent much anymore. Lots of single parent families. A culture of believing that you are entitled to everything that you wish without having to work or save up for it.

Think about it. Germany is the fourth most armed country. Yet does not have the gun violence problem that the US has. It's the human factor. Not the gun factor.
14:18 February 17, 2013 by mitanni
@englishted "but you can try to make sure they can't get guns. Less guns less gun crime"

No, you can't. Guns are even easier to make at home than alcohol or drugs. And less guns less gun crime is just nonsense; gun crime is in no way proportional to gun ownership. Until you get gun ownership to almost zero, you don't affect gun crime significantly. If you look across the world, across Europe, or across US states, there is no statistically valid relationship between gun ownership and gun crime. Gun control is as much of a failure as prohibition or the war on drugs.
15:34 February 17, 2013 by Englishted
See if we can guess which country has the most guns and most deaths by firearms ,the figures below are as 22.July 2012 in guardian.co.uk

Germany 158

United States 9,146

England and Wales 41

Now are you sure that "less guns less gun crime " is incorrect?
16:55 February 17, 2013 by raandy
zeddriver I agree that it is the human factor which determines the amount of violence more than the gun factor.

While America prizes material possessions and money more than anything else which increases the gap between haves and have nots thus making success for those outside the income stream a distant dream.Europeans prize free time, family and quality living more than wealth thus promoting a more stable less violent society.

A study of the amount of quality time children are with parents vs the amount of time parents put their children in front of the TV or onto social networks because they are trying to achieve the "American Dream" by working thus spending much less time parenting would be interesting to read as it relates to the amount of violence in their respective societies.
17:41 February 17, 2013 by michael4096
Here in rural Bavaria there are guns and gun clubs everywhere. However, the vast majority are either hunting rifles with physical limits of 3 rounds without manual reloading or low caliber and / or single shot target weapons. Very few could be used in a mass shooting. The rules on transportation are very severe as well.

@mitanni - "...there is no statistically valid relationship between gun ownership and gun crime..."

Most studies 'showing' this lack of evidence fail in two respects. They ignore the types of gun allowed, such as the German rules which show, they say that high ownership is possible with low gun crime. Would gun crime in Germany be low if fully automatics with big magazines were the norm?

Secondly, they ignore the fact that many countries with high gun crime have introduced ownership restrictions because of existing high gun crime. A circular argument.
17:49 February 17, 2013 by zeddriver
@raandy

Exactly. But yet. I would ask. Describe success. Or what is success? Is it having a TV in every room? A bathroom for every bedroom? A car for every member of the family with garage space for them all? A pool? A lot of Americans mistakenly believe that if you aren't rich you are poor.

I would even add that rich or poor is to a certain level a learned thing. My wife's parents were very poor. Yet she nor her two brothers ever felt that they were lacking in anything. She even paid her own way through university. So in her families mind. They really weren't that poor. They just didn't have money for the fancy stuff. Yet had they wanted to. They could have easily qualified for government assistance. But they didn't. They just accepted that rather than cable T.V. They made do with an antenna for free to air. Instead of a BMW. They drove old American used cars.

It's in most cases a state of mind.

You're final paragraph is why I detest cells phones. We are far to connected with the office. The last two generations have suffered as a result of the expectation of the office boss that employees should be available 24/7.
21:45 February 17, 2013 by MattyB
15:34 February 17, 2013 by Englishted

You do realize the UK has a higher violent crime rate than the US, right?

Also, while you're throwing around gun ownership and gun violence comparisons, why not include Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa?

Its the culture/society, not an inanimate object. Raandy's answer is the best I've seen on here thus far.
08:21 February 18, 2013 by Englishted
@ programmes

A higher rate resulting in death?

The other countries you name have a major problem agreed but surely that just proves the point of my guns more gun crime.

Yes culture is also at fault but if you can't get the guns it would be safer.
10:05 February 18, 2013 by mobaisch
question! does a foreigner has the right to get one???? i wanna i wanna
21:59 February 18, 2013 by zeddriver
@mobaisch

Yes!

I have an American friend that is taking the German hunters course.
10:09 February 21, 2013 by jgstefan
@ michael4096

Thats simply not true

If you a member of a shooting club and fullfill the obligaton for gun ownership by law ( background checked, fierarms safety course...ect) you are entitelt for a so called basic contingent of fierarms: two hanguns (no restriktion on caliber) two semi auto rifles 10 round mag, and manualy operated rifles without any limits

Hunters is about the same, only semi auto rifles are restricted to 2 rounds mags
17:18 February 22, 2013 by Icke Ricke
I understand the want for security; that being said handguns and military assault rifles are for one purpose and one purpose only - for killing humans and rodents. Socially? As far as the States are concerned these days are a reckoning for the "unalienable rights" (that we shall not be left alone) promised in our Declaration, and that is why, more often than not, alot of these mass shootings are conducted by alienated people. I do not know what Germany has declared for its people, but here in America people tend to go around pledging things that they have no intention of standing for and it causes alot of problems.
19:57 February 23, 2013 by Berliner1978
If you see a picture of the last three perpetrator's of a mass shooting in America you would understand it is a mental health issue, not a gun issue.....:D

"Less guns less gun crime" False. An armed society is a polite society. Without exception, in every state in the USA that has enacted "shall issue" concealed firearms permit laws in the last 20 years, in every single case violent crimes rates have dropped. ALL of them. The media would have you believe that violent crime is on the rise, in fact the opposite is true. We do keep actual statistics on this stuff you know.

Comparing Germany to the US is ridiculous, Germany is the size of the States of Oregon and Washington, 2 out of 50.. FAR fewer people. Compare those figures with a ratio of the two countries populations and the disparity nearly vanishes.

In cities that prohibit the ownership and carry of firearms, such as Chicago or New York, violent crime IS through the roof. In countries that have drastically curtained firearms ownership such as Australia or the UK, violent crime has risen dramatically since those laws were passed and law abiding citizens forced to surrender their guns. Law abiding citizens are the only ones who obey such laws anyway. In the UK violent assaults using knives has increased MASSIVELY since guns were confiscated en mass, they now have laws against knives.....and every kitchen in the country has a drawer full of them.

Most Germans with any knowledge of history know full well the motivations of those in government who call for civilian disarmament. Weapons are a means of resistance. People who aspire to power and believe they know best for other people, whether they like it or not, don't want to be resisted. Especially by the those equipped and inclined to do so. Therefore the first step is.......

The experts agree, gun control works! Which experts? Mao, Lenin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro.....The fact that authoritarian governments NEVER favor universal possession of arms by their populations tells you what you need to know.

What was the one European country Herr Schicklegruber never seriously considered invading during that recent bit of unpleasantness? Switzerland. If you don't know why.......Hands down the most stable, longest running democracy in all of Europe. Because of homogeneity? Not really, the country is split up along linguistic lines between those who speak German, French, or Italian. Perhaps it's because they all have guns. ALL of them, every household

has a SIG 5.56mm assault rifle in it, at bare minimum. Who screws with someone who has the Swiss equivalent of an M16? No one with any sense. Sounds like the kind of problem which would be self correcting, as it were.

An armed society is a polite, and safe, society.
12:19 February 27, 2013 by Roger O. Thornhill
Gun registration has not worked anywhere attempted in making a difference in preventing or solving crimes.

Canada just abandoned theirs after spending 2 billion (yes that is a B) to set it up.
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