Anti-gunners love to point to Europe as a beacon of enlightenment, far different from our “barbaric” pro-gun ways. The good people over there are past this idea that individuals should be able to purchase and own weapons, why someone might get hurt!
But then 9/11 happened. Terrorists became emboldened and increasingly targeted western nations friendly with the United States.
And, it seems, this may have changed the thinking of many Europeans.
The state of emergency in some countries, triggered after the multiple terrorist attacks hitting Europe, has brought soldiers back into the streets. In Paris or Brussels, it’s hard to miss patrolling and heavily-armed soldiers in the streets. Their guns are proving effective. In February 2017, soldiers shot a man who was charging them in the Louvre museum. In October 2017, police shot dead an assailant in Marseille, France, after he had stabbed two women in the main railway station. Just last month, both soldiers and special police units shot at and killed the man who committed a terrorist attack in Strasbourg, France. The citizens protected by these soldiers are drawing the logical conclusion: guns work against terrorism.
France and Belgium have seen a significant increase in memberships in shooting clubs and in the number of gun license applications over the last three years. The latter almost doubled after the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. In Germany, the amount of legally registered weapons has increased by almost 10 percent in five years, and there were 6.1 million guns in 2017. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of permits to carry weapons for use outside shooting clubs more than tripled to 9,285.
According to ONS data, the UK showed a 2 percent increase in firearm and shotgun certificates in the year ending March 31, 2018—rising to 157,581.
Numbers by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey show that unregistered weapons outnumbered legal ones in 2017 by 44.5 million to 34.2 million.
According to a recent Rand Corp. report:
Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the US. Firearms listings (42 percent) were the most common listings on the dark web, followed by arms-related digital products (27 percent) and others, including ammunition (22 percent). Pistols were the most commonly listed firearm (84 percent), followed by rifles (10 percent) and sub-machine guns (6 percent).
The reason why Europeans are stockpiling arms is understandable: With terrorism came a growing sense of insecurity. Soldiers may be patrolling the big streets, but they cannot be everywhere. Furthermore, terrorist attacks can happen in small towns where police aren’t on high alert, such as the Carcassone and Trèbes attack in France in March 2018, which killed five, the Normandy church attack in France in July 2016, where one person was killed, or the Würzburg train attack of July 2016 in Germany, which resulted in five people being injured with an ax.
But applicants for firearms will soon find themselves in an uphill battle against their own governments.
In other words, they lack the protections of a Second Amendment and now have to fight their governments for the tools of self-defense. Making matters worse is the presence of the European Union, which frowns on guns regardless of what individual nations may want, thus making it even less likely that many Europeans will be able to own firearms and defend themselves in the event of a terrorist attack.
The truth of the matter is that Europeans are fascinated with guns and many of the rank and file would love to own guns if they could. There’s a reason that rental ranges in places like Las Vegas report having a lot of foreign tourists come in to shoot the guns. It’s because we’re the only place on Earth that you can do so.
Europeans haven’t eschewed guns. The nation’s governments have. And it looks like many people have gone to start getting guns anyway. Maybe they heard the old American expression, “Better to be tried by twelve than to be carried by six.”
Can’t say that I blame them.