German gun ownership hit a record high in 2017, local newspapers reported Thursday. More than 256,000 small arms permits were issued in last two years, almost doubling the total number of license holders in the country to well over half a million.
The latest statistics on increased gun ownership comes just weeks after a government study explicitly linked the soaring crime rates in the country to migrant arrivals. The detailed study commissioned by Germany's Ministry of Family Affairs found that in the state of Lower Saxony, where crime surged by 10 percent between 2014 and 2016, more than 90 percent of the additional crimes could be attributed to the newly arrived ‘refugees.’ Similar trends were witnessed across Germany.
Police authorities across the country are failing to get a grip on the imported crime wave. Last month, the eastern German city of Cottbus banned fresh refugee intake following a series of violent crimes. German towns of Salzgitter, Delmenhorst and Wilhelmshaven were also forced to impose similar bans in the wake of the recent refugee influx.
German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported the unprecedented rise in small arms permits:
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. (...)
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. Recent cuts to the police force contributed to the problem.
Some see the influx of refugees and migrants to Germany since 2015 as a trigger to a worsening security situation. The number of crime suspects classed as immigrants – including asylum seekers, refugees and illegal immigrants – rose to 174,438 in 2016, an increase of 52.7 percent from the previous year. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said, “This can’t be sugar-coated.”
The staggering surge in gun permits once again reflect this waning public confidence in the Merkel government’s will and ability to protect ordinary German citizens.
Following mass rapes and assaults perpetrated by the migrants on the New Years’ Eve of 2015 in Cologne and other German cities, the public has increasingly lost faith in the government and media when it comes to dealing with the negative fallout from the unregulated migrant influx.
According to the Global Trust Report 2017 that measured public confidence in institutions and business, the German public is losing trust in politicians, mainstream media and established parties. Around 38 percent of Germans had faith in their government and only 18 of them trusted their political parties, the report revealed.
“We have a real problem with certain population groups, but because that is air-brushed out, people no longer believe criminal statistics,” Carolin Matthie, a 24-year-old German woman, told the newspaper The Irish Times last month.