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Dispute over stricter gun laws: Nancy Faeser against the FDP


In the discussion about gun law, a coalition quarrel that can hardly be resolved is looming. SPD Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wants to tighten the laws – the FDP categorically rejects her proposal.

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Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD)

Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa

It was one of Nancy Faeser's first announcements as Federal Minister of the Interior.

"Anyone with mental health issues or who has obviously become radicalized is not allowed to own weapons, especially not legally," the SPD politician told SPIEGEL after taking office in December 2021.

It was her lesson from the Hanau attack that killed ten.

At the time, Faeser left it open how exactly she wants to change the law.

A good year later, the Interior Minister has now presented a concrete proposal for tightening gun laws.

The arrest of a suspected Reichsbürger terrorist group before Christmas strengthened their plan - around 100 firearms were in the hands of the conspiracy supporters, most of them legal.

A coalition crash is now looming in the traffic light.

Because the FDP is categorically against the initiative of the SPD Minister.

It is difficult to imagine what a compromise could look like here.

In the 48-page draft law available to SPIEGEL, Faeser's experts make a whole bundle of proposals:

  • “Semi-automatic firearms similar to war weapons”

    are to be banned altogether.

    This refers above all to the civilian versions of AR-15 assault rifles, which according to the Ministry of the Interior were "particularly attractive" to gunmen and terrorists and were used in attacks in Norway, New Zealand and the USA.

    135,000 such weapons are owned by private individuals in Germany, they would have to be scrapped.

  • For the

    possession of crossbows

    , a so-called small gun license should be required in the future.

    There should also be tightening

    when buying

    alarm guns.

  • Training

    with rifles, pistols and revolvers on shooting ranges

    should be more strictly regulated.

  • In the future, anyone applying for a firearms license for the first time would have to present a

    medical or psychological certificate

    attesting to “mental aptitude”.

    So far, this only applies to under 25-year-olds.

  • In the future, the local weapons authorities should not only ask the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the police whether there is something about applicants that speaks against the possession of a firearm.

    The health authorities should also have such a

    regular query


    All authorities who have knowledge of a "danger to themselves or others" due to a mental disorder should inform the weapons authorities of their own accord.

Already Seehofer failed with tightening

Faeser's predecessor Horst Seehofer (CSU) had already submitted the latter proposals in a draft law.

It was a reaction to the 2020 Hanau attack, in which a mentally ill and racist assassin murdered with legally purchased pistols.

At the time, however, Seehofer failed due to resistance from the rifle lobby and his own Union faction in the Bundestag.

In the traffic light, it is now the FDP that opposes the plans for gun law.

The domestic politician responsible for the issue, Konstantin Kuhle, told SPIEGEL that it first had to be evaluated "what the numerous tightenings of recent years have actually brought about for the security situation in Germany".

Before that, there could be no new changes.

"Enemies of the constitution and citizens of the Reich can already be disarmed on the basis of the applicable law," said Kuhle.

And with the planned regular query to the health authorities, there is “the risk that sensitive health data will fall into the wrong hands”.

The FDP politician even rejects the ban on semi-automatic assault rifles for private individuals.

»It doesn't help for a factual discussion about the gun law to constantly start new ban debates.

Rather, the central project should be combating illegal firearms.”

FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr made a similar statement.

"Instead of imposing new bans, we should ensure that the weapons authorities in the municipalities are better equipped and trained," he told the Augsburger Allgemeine.

Second major dispute in internal security

Thus, the second big traffic light dispute in terms of internal security is emerging.

SPD Interior Minister Faeser and FDP Justice Minister Marco Buschmann are already at odds with the question of data retention for Internet addresses.

In contrast to the data dispute, however, Faeser receives support from the second coalition partner, the Greens, when it comes to weapons law.

They are largely on the side of the SPD here.

"There is a considerable need for action when it comes to disarming enemies of the constitution, semi-automatic weapons and alarm guns," Green Party domestic politician Marcel Emmerich told SPIEGEL.

"New Year's Eve and the December raid on Reich citizens have confirmed that."

According to Emmerich, the proposals from the Ministry of the Interior included long-standing demands from the Greens.

"It's not about bullying marksmen or hunters, it's about keeping those who pose a threat to public safety away from guns."

In order to disarm extremists, the Green politician could imagine even stricter rules than are currently in Faeser's draft.

He is only reluctant to exchange health data with the weapons authorities.

Here it is "still unclear exactly which information should be shared, and that will have to be checked with a view to patient rights".

It is the point where Seehofer failed.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2023-01-11

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