Germany has long had some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. But after a spate of terror attacks last year—including an attack on train passengers by an axe-wielding Pakistani teen posing as an Afghan refugee, a shooting rampage by a German-Iranian teenager that killed nine, and the arrest of a suspected ISIS bomb-plotter planning an attack on two airports—Germans are looking for ways to protect themselves and their families.
By law, self-defense isn’t considered sufficient justification for obtaining a gun legally—so many Germans have begun turning to the black market. A now-defunct site called “Migrant Fright” offered gun, grenade and ammunition packages to customers, “discreetly sent, at a fair price … without annoying bureaucratic hurdles or annoying paperwork.” According to Germany’s Sued Deutsche, business was brisk, with white-collar professionals taking delivery at their offices and newly armed citizens practicing their aim in their back gardens in preparation for terrorist confrontations.Last July, German SWAT officers discovered a cache of “war-grade weapons” in a greengrocer near an extremist Islamic mosque. So: If criminals are getting guns into Germany illegally, and otherwise law-abiding citizens are getting guns into Germany illegally … what, exactly, are Germany’s gun control laws accomplishing?