Germany has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the world. Gun ownership in the country is considered a privilege—not a right—and it is granted based upon the user having a credible need. Self-defense is not considered one of those credible needs.
Yet with threats to citizens on the rise from migrants seeking asylum in the country, Germans are now rushing to protect themselves. The German Interior Ministry reports the number of licenses for “small weapons” rose by 21,000 between November and January—putting the total at 301,000.
The small-arms licenses being issued currently, however, only cover non-lethal items such as blank-firing pistols and pepper spray. “We think that most of these articles … will never be used,” said Ingo Meinhard, head of the German association for weapons dealers, but he added that they served a “psychological effect” of making people feel safer.