Winnenden massacre could lead to paintball and laser tag ban
The German government has agreed to tighten gun laws and ban games such as paintball and laser tag because lawmakers say they “simulate killing” that could spark tragedies such as the Winnenden school massacre.
German media reported on Thursday that lawmakers from the ruling coalition had agreed on a catalogue of measures aimed at clamping down on illegal firearms and better monitoring privately owned weapons.
"We have agreed on reasonable changes that will mean more security without over-regulating hobby marksmen and hunters," the deputy head of the conservative Christian Union parliamentary group, Wolfgang Bosbach, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.
The measures include banning paintball, where players use air rifles to shoot ammunition filled with paint at opponents, and laser tag, a game where players attempt to score points by shooting each other with an infrared-emitting gun.
Violators of the ban would be slapped with fines of up to €5,000, the paper reported.
“The games simulate killing,” Bosbach said.
The move comes two months after 17-year-old Tim Kretschmar killed 15 people, including nine students and three teachers at his old school in Winnenden in southwestern Germany, with a gun stolen from his father’s bedroom. The incident has sparked a fierce debate on gun laws in Germany.
German media reported that lawmakers were also considering barring people under the age of 18 from shooting high-calibre guns at target practice and permitting police to conduct random checks at the homes of gun owners to ensure their weapons are under lock and key.
Other measures would include creating a digital database of firearms as well as biometric security systems to help ensure weapons are used by their rightful owners. In addition, lawmakers would introduce an amnesty for owners of illegal firearms if they turn them in to authorities, reports said.