Germans apply for more ‘small weapon’ licences in the first three months of 2016 than the whole of 2015 as citizens react to huge number of migrant arrivals

  • Applications for ‘small weapon’ licenses peak in German state
  • More applications in Bavaria in Jan-March than in whole of 2014 
  • A ‘small weapon’ license allows the holder to own a non-live ammo gun 

Applications for non-lethal weapons licences in the German state of Bavaria is rising at an alarming rate, the latest figures show.

The number of applications for ‘small weapon’ licenses in the first three months of 2016, is already double that of the whole of 2015, in the southeastern state.

Local media reports that the spike in applications for licenses is connected to the huge influx of migrants and refugees in Germany in recent years.

In February alone, the southwestern German state of Bavaria handed out 7,435 new 'small weapon' licences - which covers non-lethal gas pistols -  compared to to 5,748 in all of 2015, local media reports.

In 2014, the number of ‘small weapons licence’ applications was 2,379, a number which doubled to 5,748 in 2015, The Local reports.

However, in 2016, the numbers have already more than doubled, with 7,435 new licences were given out in February and 4,677 in March.

Local politicians are worried that the increase are a response to the 1.1million migrants and refugees that arrived in Germany last year, despite repeated police reports that crime has not increased as a result of the influx.

‘The explosive rise in the number of small weapons licences being handed out is very worrying,’ Katharina Schulze, interior affairs spokesperson for The Green Party in Bavaria told Die Welt.

‘We don’t need the people of Bavaria to arm themselves. Possessing arms and practising vigilante justice are not an example we want to set.

‘The danger is that more and more conflicts will escalate if more people arm themselves.’

The state off North Rhine-Westphalia also reported an increase, believed to be connected to the mass sex attacks in the city of Cologne on New Year's Eve

Similarly, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia reported that the number of small weapons licence applications had increased by 14 per cent year on year.

The biggest city in North Rhine-Westphalia is Cologne, the scene of the now infamous New Year’s Eve mass sex attacks.

Some 1,100 criminal complaints have been filed relating to the chaos outside the main train station in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, with several hundred alleging sexual offences.

More than 500 complaints allege some kind of sexual assault, including three rapes, in the mass attacks which witnesses described as being carried out by ‘groups of mainly Arabic and North African men’.

A small weapons licence gives the holder the right to use gas pistols – non lethal weapons only able to fire non-live ammunition, such as tear gas cartridges.

Gas pistols and alarm guns are used for self-defence but also in weapons trainings or a starting pistols, and are more prevalent in European countries with strict gun laws.

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