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New gun register a decade after massacre

The Local · 26 Apr 2012, 12:20

Published: 26 Apr 2012 12:20 GMT+02:00

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The church bells in Erfurt rang out on Thursday shortly before 11am – the time a decade ago when 19-year-old Robert Steinhäuser started shooting at his former school there. A day of commemoration was planned in the Thuringian city.

It was April 26 when Steinhäuser took a pump-action shotgun and a large-calibre pistol to the Gutenberg Gymnasium and spent two hours roaming the building, picking out 12 teachers and shooting them. He also killed two students, the school secretary and a policeman before locking himself in a cupboard and shooting himself.

The case was the biggest school shooting in Germany and left the country in shock.

A gun law reform which was, ironically, due to be discussed in parliament that day, was withdrawn and strengthened before being passed.

Since then sports shooters under the age of 25 have to undergo a medical-psychological examination to determine whether they are suitable gun keepers, while age limits for buying and owning guns were raised.

Sports shooters have to be at least 21 rather than the previous limit of 18, while hunting gun licenses are limited to those over 18, rather than 16.

Much attention was also focused on the possible role that violent video games might play in making young men more inured to violence, with some regional attempts to limit access to first-person-shooter games.

As the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper pointed out on Thursday, the fact that Steinhäuser had bought his weapons with a relatively simple fraudulent tweak to his gun license, was not tackled.

Seven years later, in March 2009, the 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer killed 15 people, mostly at his school in Winnenden, before committing suicide – he had taken one of his father’s 15 weapons. Although most of Kretschmer’s guns were locked away, he had kept the pistol near his bed.

The case prompted calls for a law to stop guns being kept in private homes – restricting them to gun club safes. Such proposals have been rejected by most mainstream politicians – but were revived on Thursday by an action group from Winnenden.

Story continues below…

“Much has changed since Erfurt, but it is a long way,” Gisela Mayer, spokeswoman for the group. She said “laws of the highest possible security,” were needed.

The Local/DAPD/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:26 April 26, 2012 by KonzaMan
He ran amok for 2 hours? It seems the State failed to protect it's subjects. Giving up your right to self defense is a crime against nature. Anyone who supports this is a pathetic weakling. I challenge you to stand up for your rights and become a CITIZEN - not a knee bending vassal. NEVER trust a government! Just ask and American Indian.
14:17 April 26, 2012 by thatsnotariot
Who is giving up their "right to self defense"? Stricter gun laws are necessary in a civilised society, sorry buttercup!
17:47 April 26, 2012 by Englishted
This should go down as the slowest knee jerk reaction in history.
17:56 April 26, 2012 by X13F
An armed society is a polite society. If you want to trust your life to police response time? Your choice now. The government will make ALL your choices later since you can't do anything about it but whine. Also, Konza was a tribe of American Indians. They no longer exist. They didn't have guns either and the government promised to protect them from bad people.

Look at the Swiss, seems like a pretty safe place to me?
18:04 April 26, 2012 by justinoliver
shootings and murders are not committed by law abiding citizens, they are committed by criminals. a few unlikely and random incidents like this may be prevented by extreme gun control, but the majority of the crimes will still occur because criminals do not follow the latest gun laws.

in the u.s.a., all of the states that have instituted laws allowing concealed firearms have observed lower rates of robbery, rape, and murder . it is an easy to check fact that anti-gun people like to overlook.
19:09 April 26, 2012 by Jerr-Berlin
to Change Mutney...

you're absolutely right...guns and violence are a major part of american society...

...I grew up in Chicago, during the 50's and 60's...it was normal to have at least one shooting per day...with the NRA, and the other rednecks, controlling US politics and the war machine.....

nothing will change...it's nice to be able to walk down most streets in Berlin, Munich, Cologne etc...without watching my back...

19:30 April 26, 2012 by MeinSchwanz

'...I grew up in Chicago, during the 50's and 60's...it was normal to have at least one shooting per day...with the NRA, and the other rednecks, controlling US politics and the war machine.....'

You do realize thst Chicago is run and has been run by nothing but left wing Democrats? And that legal guns have been banned in Chicago for a long long time. So the violence you saw take place in Chicago was due to Gangs, wastrels and other Democrats.
19:48 April 26, 2012 by MIKE LOUGHNANE
waste of money! ask the Canadians how there gun register worked 2 billion dollars down the drain.
22:57 April 26, 2012 by Eric1
Governments will always use tragedies to strip citizens of their freedoms.
23:39 April 26, 2012 by bhess
Good one englishted.

I always thought that german gun laws were very restrictive. What more do they want to restrict?

It's not really fair for either side to compare the U.S./Europe regarding gun laws. There is such a cultural divide. Even in the U.S. there is a cultural divide. I grew up in the west and my dad was raised on a ranch so I've been shooting since I was 5. It's just something you did and it wasn't a big deal.

As far as walking down the street, I found the street crime in Europe worse than I had ever experienced in the U.S. Not so much in Germany but in France and The Netherlands, you have to watch your stuff close or it will be stolen.
14:08 April 27, 2012 by Sayer
As noted above, Canada, under the tutelage of the misguided and mal-intentioned Alan Rock, wasted C$2b on a registry that became a monster out of control. I, as a responsible gun owner would like to offer my modest suggestion for an intelligent solution.

(1) Make the qualifications and background check for obtaining a licence strict and fair, with clear requirements to be met. Involve the people who use guns.

(2) Make clear, unambiguous and common-sense rules for the storage, transport and use of firearms, and enforce them. Involve the people who use guns.

Remember, no society can legislate every possible eventuality, so don't try. Criminals in Germany can get guns if they want to, illegally. Heck, I can, if I wanted to. It's not really that hard. But that is a job for good police work, not legislators. Illegal possession or use laws are already on the books.

Canada's errors should not be repeated. Neither should the US'. Somewhere between the two is a reasonable balance. Sadly, this is why Berlin will probably not do it well. It's too easy, and too cost effective.
17:53 April 27, 2012 by McNair Kaserne
On such subjects, one should listen to people whose expertise in the field is a matter of history....

"Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State." - Heinrich Himmler

Guns are easily available in Germany to the criminal element. Just ask the police, they know this. Criminals do not obey gun laws. The sheeple who believe that human existence is made more safe by restrictive laws against lawful possession and use of arms have an emotional "though process" rather than a rational one, as evidence to the contrary is not hard to find if you are predisposed to look. (They are not, they already know how they "feel" about the issue.)

Free men own guns. Slaves do not.
19:22 April 27, 2012 by gtaglia
There is no reason why anyone who wishes to own firearms should not be allowed to do so. The only practical reason for registration is to identify gun owners for future confiscation. Criminals and the insane do not abide by the laws and will do as they please. The only legal recourse against such people is the death penalty, which assures that if they are caught once, they will not do the same thing again.
07:05 April 28, 2012 by Talis M.
Canada wasted well over $2 billion dollars and the gun registry had approximately 30% compliance. The government kept lying to the public to think there was much more compliance. Check www.Lufa.ca for lots of information about the anti-gun registry movement in canada. LUFA (dot) ca
01:20 April 29, 2012 by aslanleon
To be fair, I have spent a lot of time in Germany and Switzerland and never felt the need to carry a gun. In my native America, I have needed it twice to prevent violent robbery. I studied the Erfurt massacre ten years ago. Nothing in the changed law would have had the least impact on the ability of the disturbed young man to get a gun.

As with most repressive gun laws, this has nothing to do with safety in the real world, but everything to do with the desire of the Himmlers and Stalins among us to remove basic human rights, including self defense.
01:54 April 29, 2012 by thamiii
Fact: more people are killed by firearms in America every year than are killed in our current conflicts. In 2010 8775 people in America were killed by firearms (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls) and a total of 6431 people have been killed in all our current conflicts starting in 2003 (http://www.defense.gov/news/casualty.pdf)

and yet there has been no comprehensive gun legislation passed in Congress since the 1968 Gun Control Act. The Brady Act which passed in 1998 is mostly ineffective.

At least here in Germany, when a tragedy of a shooting happens, they at least try and provide some legislation to prevent it from happening again. In America a shooting will happen such as the one that Gabrielle Giffords was involved in and nothing will be done. Even with the tragic shooting of Treyvon Marting no change in gun laws or preventitave measures will be taken.
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