Merkel moots surprise checks for gun owners

After the first victim of the Winnenden school massacre was buried on Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested surprise visits to gun owners to see if they are storing their weapons properly.

Merkel moots surprise checks for gun owners
Photo: DPA

Merkel has avoided making rash demands or suggestions for new laws following the massacre in Winnenden, but spoke on Deutschlandfunk radio on Sunday calling for more attention to be given to young people.

“We must do everything to see that children do not get weapons, and certainly that they are not encouraged to violence. We have to pay attention to all young people. That goes for parents, and it goes for teachers,” she said.

She added that surprise visits should be considered from authorities to gun owners to check they have their firearms locked away as prescribed by the law.

Charges could be brought against teen gunman Tim Kretschmer’s father if it is thought he was negligent in storing his extensive collection of firearms, which included the pistol which his son used in the massacre – and which police say he took from his parents’ bedroom.

The possibility of such charges being brought would increase if it were to be shown that Kretschmer had shown dangerous tendencies.

His parents have denied reports that he had been having psychiatric treatment for depression, despite statements from police, prosecutors and the head of the clinic concerned, that he had.

The parents’ lawyer Achim Bächle told news agency AP, “There was no psychotherapeutic treatment of the boy,” before adding that out-patient treatment was something completely different.

Pupils at the Albertville school, where Kretschmer killed nine children and three teachers, were allowed to return there to pick up personal belongings they had left there during the massacre.

They will not be expected to return to school for at least a week, although facilities are being provided for them to talk with psychologists and teachers in other schools, Wolfgang Schiele, head of the regional school authority said on Sunday.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.