Germany has seen a great increase of gun sales and applications since the New Year sexual assault spree in Cologne.
The citizens don’t feel safe and rightly so, and the police did not do enough to protect or arrest the groups of men who perpetrated the crimes, so the people have risen up to protect their own.
German gun sales are strictly regulated. According to German law there are five criteria that must be met before a firearms ownership license can be issued. The person must be 18, trustworthy, have personal adequacy, expert knowledge and must prove a necessity. Convicted felons, people with a record of mental disorder and people deemed unreliable with drug addictions or a violent past are barred.
The citizens are rightly concerned and have been also purchasing pepper spray in great amounts since the attacks on New Years. Pepper spray does not require a permit in Germany.
The small fire arms permit or Kleiner Waffenschein introduced in 2002 can be obtained without the need to demonstrate expert knowledge, necessity or insurance requirements. This is the permit which has seen the greatest amount of applications this year. It allows the licensee to carry airsoft guns and flare guns. This permit is required to carry on public property but like the regular firearms permit carrying is illegal at public events.
The public has lashed out in public media at the police because of the failed response on New Years. Voicing concern on the Cologne Police Facebook page, it is evident as to why gun sales have increased.
The issue has raised discussions on social media, such as the Cologne Police Facebook page, in which concerned German citizens have made comments saying, “We are no longer safe in our own country without a weapon,” and others expressed outrage at police saying, “unbelievable, maybe you should advertise with large posters to arm concerned citizens.”