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Man jailed for guns and explosive stash

The Local · 21 Aug 2012, 11:33

Published: 21 Aug 2012 11:33 GMT+02:00

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“Something could have very easily happened and that could have been terrible,” said the judge at the Bad Kreuznach court on Tuesday.

The 64-year-old who has been nick-named “Powder Kurt” for his love of gunpowder, collected 40 kilos of explosive and dozens of weapons, keeping them in his house and a shed outside with little security.

His collection was said to be one of the largest found in private possession in Germany since the war. He was convicted of several counts of breaking weapons and explosives laws.

His defence asked for two years on probation, while the prosecution had called for the man to be jailed for four years.

He argued that he had only stored the weapons and explosive and never had any intention of using them. He said much had been given to him – he had swapped some of the explosive with an alcoholic for crates of beer, while an assault rifle had been given to him by a friend who was leaving Germany for Australia.

The collection also included a bazooka, mines, several hand grenades and a number of machine guns.

“I just want to say again that I am very sorry, and I would like to apologise to all those involved,” the man said at the end of the trial, before weeping.

He said he had specifically hired the shed to store some of the collection, as “I did not want it in the house.”

Story continues below…

Detectives found boxes of guns, ammunition and gunpowder in his house as well. But the biggest danger was posed by several boxes of explosives in the shed, stacked on the back of a truck. The material was in such poor condition that it could have spontaneously exploded, an expert from the state criminal office told the court.

A robot was brought in to remove the boxes and take them to a nearby field to be blown up.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:03 August 21, 2012 by lucksi
Huh and I was thinking 2 years was the max for a suspended sentence.
12:09 August 21, 2012 by iseedaftpeople

>Huh and I was thinking 2 years was the max for a suspended sentence.

yes, that can't be. Der Spiegel writes that he is actually going to prison for three and a half years.

Two years is always the maximum that a court can give you as a suspended sentence; two years and one month, and a custodial sentence becomes compulsory.
12:18 August 21, 2012 by The Local Germany
Thanks for the comments - we have corrected the story.
16:56 August 21, 2012 by HungarianAmerican1975
I would like to know exactly what "explosives and weapons law" he was breaking. Otherwise I will be forced to assume the state is physically removing private property from a law-abiding citizen in an effort to disarm people they deem a threat to the establishment. We already know about the Draconian gun laws throughout Europe. Criminals can have them, people trying to protect their families and themselves legally cannot...
17:09 August 21, 2012 by Englishted
Sorry to tell you HungarianAmerican1975 but the majority in Europe would like their "Draconian gun laws " made stricter, we don't like the America model ,the same as the death sentence we would find it a step backwards no insult intended.
17:51 August 21, 2012 by Purple_Heart2004
This looks like a antique collection, all WWII models. Interesting that he was arresting for something he "might" have done. So much for Democracy. By the way the American Gun Laws as enshrined in our Constitution works, gun crime is by far committed by those who should not have a gun and who procure them illegally. Punishing law abiding people is silly.
18:33 August 21, 2012 by Englishted
@ Purple_Heart2004

Would you let somebody on a plane with them? ,for something they "might" do ?.

Also he is not a "law abiding " citizen because he has broken the law here.
19:40 August 21, 2012 by beckyhead
@HungarianAmerican and @Englishted.

You are both ill-informed. German law allows law abiding citizens to have a certain amount of black powder or gun powder within a residence for the purpose of black powder shooting and/or reloading. As for gun ownership, rifles and pistols are allowed for sport shooters and hunters. As a hunter you can only own two pistols but you can have an many rifles as you want...as long as they are stored properly. I have no issues with these laws; it's the paperwork that sucks. In addition, you don't need automatic weapons for hunting and sportshooting. Waste of ammo and dangerous for others. This does not mean I agree with all the German gun laws. I have no issue with semi-automatic rifles and pistols for sport shooting....and I disagree with German law that states home protection is not a reason to own a firearm. As for some of those "antique" firearms, a German MG40 machinegun is incredibly deadly, and that design is still use by some country's today.

I disagree with the opinion that European like Draconian gun laws. Gun legislation is a slap in the face to legitimate law abiding gun owners...especially in England. Criminals will always find a way to get guns regardless of the law...why punish the law-abiding citizen?

I am both a sport shooter and hunter....I think the US can learn SOME from the way German's do things to ensure the right people are in possession of firearms.
21:19 August 21, 2012 by Englishted
@ beckyhead

I totally agree with "German law that states home protection is not a reason to own a firearm."

However you make some valid points but why not store all guns at the gun club and only take them out when hunting ?,for myself and many others there have been too many mass shooting by people who did have the right to carry gun to not tighten up laws that you feel are to strict .
23:09 August 21, 2012 by toemag
I like the argument of storing the guns all in one place ;-) Makes it easier for criminals to know where they can go and get them :-)

We should also store our cars centrally and go and get them when we want to use them, it would ensure that driving under the influence of alcohol was reduced :-)

I am also a hunter and target shooter, and thank you for your concern, maybe you'll be up at 03:00hrs every morning to issue me with my rifle so that I can be on the high seat by 04:00hrs.
23:24 August 21, 2012 by zeddriver
To heck with burglars. I fear those in power more than a burglar. In the US the reason the second amendment was put in place was to instill fear in any politician that tries to do away with freedom and tries to establish a dictatorship. All governments fear an armed citizenry. It's ironic that the places that have the highest crime rates in America are also the places with the toughest gun laws. And of course the cities with the highest rate of concealed pistol permits have the lowest crime rates. Imagine that.
01:26 August 22, 2012 by toemag
All I'll do is post a link, the amount by which this town has grown in the last 25 years is staggering.

08:26 August 22, 2012 by Englishted
@ toemag,

Strange I believe the army store things together ?,but what if somebody steals yours and kills innocent people ?.

I am glad you don't live near me thats all.
10:08 August 22, 2012 by toemag
@ Englishted

They still do, but an army occupies a secured facility, that is guarded 24/7 by Soldiers and or by security guards.

Now why are you glad that I don't live near you??

We the legal weapons owners who have passed all the courses, be it a Waffensachkundeprüfung or the coveted Jagdschein courses, have applied all the laws and customs, we keep our weapons and ammunition locked up when we don't require them for either target shooting or hunting. We pay our shooting club fees, or for a hunt, we serve a valuable service when we help control the game population. If we have to turn in our weapons and hunting the way it is practised today stops. the game population will explode out of all proportions, the farmers will have to put up with crops that are being eaten in the fields, and their will be no one there to do anything about it. The price of the farmers produce will rise, as his costs will rise, so he'll have to try and break even.

The Schützenfeste will cease to exist, as they are organised by the Schützenvereine.

I personally don't care to much what others think about me or my sport. I have tried to give you an insight into the whys. The rest is up to you, some people will always be of the killjoy trait, that's the name of the game, human nature..
12:22 August 22, 2012 by zeddriver

And that would explain why a radicalized Muslim Army doctor was able to kill so many other soldiers. I guaranty if the other soldiers had been in possession of their sidearms the doctor would not have gotten very far. And we wouldn't be spending tax dollars on a trial right now.

We would be better served to remove all vehicles from the earth. As the motor vehicle is the cause of Many, Many, Many more deaths (1,500,000 world wide in 2004 alone) than are caused by guns in the hands of the ordinary citizen.

But then again. Most would think it a rather silly argument to suggest doing away with motor vehicles. Most would say that the benefits of having the freedom to use a motor vehicle to get to work or move food and manufactured goods around. Out weighs the negative aspects of those vehicles.

40,000 died in the US from abuse of drugs in 2009. Murder by firearms in America in 2009 9,100. Yet the same liberal crowd that espouses gun control want drugs to be legalized.

25,000 died from falling, Better do away with those evil stairs.
14:39 August 22, 2012 by Englishted
@ toemag

I can assure you it is nothing personal ,I just would not want the weapons that could be used if they fell into the wrong hands to be close to my family.

But as far as your thoughts on hunting are ,much game is breed for hunting is it not ,why not hunt rats? or is the hunt for food only purposes ?.

Judging by the number of Schützenvereine in my small town I think the Schützenfeste are save with or without guns (without beer no chance).

Some people may indeed have the killjoy trail but is that better than the killkill trait ?.


Well what about that nutcase in Sweden killing all those young people should they also have been armed on that small island camping ?,

There will always be bad apples ,but armed bad apples are bad news for the innocent population .

Your point on drugs would only add up if it was people murdered by drugs as you us murder by firearms .Many of that number died through overdoses but to murder is a thought possess (normally).

You are equating murder with accidentals death and it does not work.

However the U.S.A. is a grown up country and I would not impose my beliefs on them any more than they should impose theirs on us in Europe.
15:02 August 22, 2012 by toemag
@ Englishted

Mother nature controls the birthrate of all the game we take, we do not breed them.

Normally breaking the German gun laws will mean a heavy fine and a five year prison sentence, so him being armed up to the teeth with machine guns, rifles, ammunition and explosives, why did he only get three and a half years???
17:04 August 22, 2012 by michael4096
The logic is irrefutable! Everybody must be able to defend themselves! People kill people, not guns! If the bad guys have firepower why shouldn't Jo Ordinary? History shows that the ability to take life actually saves life! Arming the downtrodden is the best way of curtailing bullies!

Nuclear weapons for Iran - yeah!
18:02 August 22, 2012 by Englishted
@ toemag,

Fair enough you sound from your comments a safety minded individual who enjoys his sport.

I have not too much problem with that ,it is the gung ho ideas that arming everybody will make German a safer place to live,this I doubt.

As to the low sentence your guess is as good as mine.
20:49 August 22, 2012 by zeddriver
@ Englishted

I appreciate that you do not advocate that the US must accept European laws. Germany has the right to do as it sees fit also. To bad the European members of the UN don't have our attitudes. They have been trying for years to nullify our second amendment by claiming that UN policies have the force of law over all nations.

The reason I want to maintain my right to bare arms. Is that even though I served in the military for 20 years. I do have a deep mistrust of an all powerful government. If a government suspends the right of citizens from voting or declares marshal law upon the public. Then what? There has never been a form of government that has not over the course of time sought more and more control over it's citizens. This always turns out bad for the citizens and good for those elitists that are in power. Just look at all the romantic castle ruins in Germany. Do you think they were erected with the blessings of the citizens? No they weren't. They were built upon the backs of the citizens. And they couldn't do anything about it until the gun came along. And governments the world over have been trying without success to rid the citizens of their guns ever since.

And yes! I do accept that some times a very bad person might do bad things with those firearms. But the government will always do worse to the people that don't have a way to stop them. In America we call this the cost of freedom.
22:27 August 22, 2012 by BCSLAVE
I do like his collection of both the MG42 and MG3. Legacy and contemporary but he certainly never obtained legally? Especially the modern MG3?
01:58 August 24, 2012 by wenddiver
Ultimately the debate comes down to Freedom or Master and Servant/Commoner. It is the old argument that there are certain people/families or parties that are better suited or intellectually endowed than the average worker or yourself to make decisions about your rights to firearms, or free speech, or freedom of rligion, or to make decisions about your associations or property rights.

At one time Englishted's Kinsmen thought the current Royal Family were better able to make these decisions, despite the documented mental illness of King George the III. That is why loyal German Ancestor's of mine stopped calling themselves British Subjects a and became American citizens who carried Brown Bess Muskets to win my Freedom in our Revolution. I don't own a Brown Bess Musket anymore, but I do own a Bushmaster M-4 carbine like our boys carry in Afganistan and it does a wonderful job of defining the limits of Government and politicians that dream of tyranny in my country.

I believe the US would be completely unmanagable to any tyrrant foreign or domestic, thanks to our right to own a weapon. We need no Pol Pots, Stalins, Chairman Maos, Hitlers or rioting gangs here to tell us the limits of our freedom or define the safety of our families. Crime is the excuse that tyrannys always use for disarming the sheeple, alhough I have never heard of any government that has eliminated crime. Better a criminal in my gunsights locally, than the crime of a tyrrant out of rifle range killing locally from a far away capital. Freedom is always the goal and ussually the answer to most questions. A Libertarian view is best.
00:33 August 25, 2012 by Supermog
Was the bazooka and the mines also for keeping burglars and politicians at bay?
12:55 August 25, 2012 by Englishted

If your idea of freedom is a democracy that elects purely on the basis of who spends the most on adverts ,then us your gun to keep it that way .

We as a country did execute one king who got to big for his boots with a trial ,unlike your fine land that does have a tendency to kill your presidents with the notable exception of Nixon .

I think you will also find the rioting does often occur in the U.S.A. too.
12:26 August 27, 2012 by toemag
I don't want laws that will allow everyone to be armed, if they are hunters, or target shooters then they should be allowed to own what they need to become proficient at their sport.
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