Tiny Saarland has the most guns per capita
The tiny western state of Saarland has emerged as Germany's most armed region, according to newly collated figures. The country launched a national weapon's register this month in a bid to keep guns under control.
Saarland, wedged between the Rhine and France, has around 120 registered guns per 1,000 people, the Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Thursday.
Following hunting-keen Saarland comes Rhineland-Palatinate with around 113 guns per 1,000 people, and then Bavaria with 95 guns per 1,000 people.
The 600 or so local authorities responsible for registering legal weapons gave their information to the new national register which will be organised and run by the Federal Administration Office in Cologne.
The Interior Ministry estimates there is around 5.5 million legal weapons in Germany. The Handelsblatt which conducted its own research asking all the state interior ministries for their latest figures, suggested the actual total was 5.7 million.
All these will be recorded on the new register's computer system so that should a weapon be found at a crime scene, police will be able to swiftly discover if it is legal, and if so, who owns it.
The register is part of European Union rules, the Handelsblatt said.
Hans Scholzen, chairman of the association of weapons technicians and history, told the paper he was surprised there were not more weapons in the country. There were 1.1 million registered sports shooters and around 300,000 hunters in the country he said, who would all have at least one weapon.