“The fact that Germans are arming themselves might be rooted in a sense of deteriorating safety. There is a growing feeling that the state cannot sufficiently protect its citizens and therefore they must protect themselves.”
Germans are taking up arms of angst. Demand for non-lethal weapons, including gas pistols, flare and stun guns, as well as pepper spray is on the rise.
In the US, every mass shooting is followed by yet another heated gun debate. While gun-related crime in Germany is comparatively rare, the issue of guns is increasingly in the forefront of political discussions.
Sales of freely available arms are booming. The number of applications for small arms permits has set new records. In 2017, 557,560 people obtained such a license. In January 2016, only 300,949 people had a permit. This means ownership soared by a staggering 85 percent in just under two years.
Following the Paris terror attacks in 2015 and the sexual assaults on women on New Year’s Eve in Cologne the following month, demand for deterrent devices has taken off. “After the attacks in Paris on the Bataclan music venue in November 2015, a wave of uncertainty spilled over to Germany,” said Ingo Meinhard, director of the German association of gunsmiths and gun dealers.
by Dietmar Neuerer