30 new firearm licenses every day
Figures released by the federal government's Justice Department show that some 10,000 shotgun licenses are being granted in Belgium every year.
This equals some 30 per day on average.
This is despite more stringent legislation having been introduced after the Hans Van Themsche shooting in 2006.
Belgium has a total of 800,000 legal guns. Experts estimate that the real number, including illegal weapons, is a lot higher.
The Hans Van Themsche killings in central Antwerp in 2006 led to new legislation being introduced. Anyone buying a weapon needs a license, except for weapons used for hunting and sports.
Since then, some 78,000 licenses have been granted. The certificates include some 160 for semi-automatic machine guns like kalashnikovs.
It's hard to determine the exact number of weapons that are in circulation, even when talking about legal weapons only. No license was needed before 2006.
On the other hand, an estimated 80,000 weapons were exported, and some 125,000 were destroyed in 2006. Experts are talking about 900,000 firearms, which is almost 1 per 10 Belgians.
There are talks of making the present legislation even stricter, to avoid that people would use loopholes in the present law.
Civil servants should receive more powers to intervene when they notice something suspicious.
Flandersnews.be / Expatica