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After its Own Mass Shootings, Germany Beefed Up Gun Control Laws. The Number of Shootings Dropped

Los Angeles Times

15 June 2016

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Tough gun control laws in Germany that were rigorously tightened after two ghastly school shootings in 2002 and 2009 have helped cut the number of firearm killings in half to about 50 a year, according to experts…

[G]ermany, where gun ownership had already been treated as a privilege rather than an inherent right, made it even harder to own a firearm. It is now the only country in the world where anyone younger than 25 has to pass a psychiatric exam before he or she is allowed to apply for a gun license. Anyone applying for a gun has to wait a year, pass rigorous tests and have a legitimate reason for owning a gun.

"The numbers of people killed in Germany by guns has been falling steadily for several years, and a large part of the reason for that is the tougher laws and diminished availability of guns," said Dagmar Ellerbrock, a history professor and authority on gun crime at Dresden's Technical University…

["G]ermany has one of the toughest gun control laws in Europe and in the whole world," said Stephan Mayer, a leader in Parliament's domestic security committee for a conservative party. He noted that 200,000 guns were voluntarily turned in to authorities after the laws were changed.

"We sharply tightened the rules after Winnenden in 2009 to keep guns out of the hands out of people who shouldn't have access," he said, pointing to the creation of a national gun registry in 2013. Everyone who owns a gun is required to register it.

After 2009, even experienced hunters and sports shooters with gun permits could be required by police at any time to take psychiatric tests if they were caught driving drunk or displayed erratic behavior of any kind. Police are allowed to visit the homes of registered gun owners for unannounced tests to make sure the guns are locked up and properly stored, with the security code or location of the keys known only to the owner.

The crackdown on guns also contributed to a 25% reduction in the number of crimes committed with guns from 2010 to 2015, the country's crime office said.

Yet Germany is one of the world's leading countries when it comes to people owning firearms. There are 5.83 million registered guns in Germany belonging to 2.31 million owners, ranking it 14th in the world in gun ownership…

ID: N636

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