Firearms in demand as gun control law looms
26 May 2006, BRUSSELS — Weapons traders in Belgium have reported a strong rise in sales since debate opened up around tighter gun control laws.
26 May 2006
BRUSSELS — Weapons traders in Belgium have reported a strong rise in sales since debate opened up around tighter gun control laws.
Hunting and sports weapons can currently be bought across the counter without a licence on proof of identification. After the person's details are registered, the buyer can take the gun home.
But new legislation — which has been approved in record tempo after the racist shootings in Antwerp on 11 May — will impose tighter regulations.
In future, anyone who wants to buy a gun will need to undergo a police screening and obtain a gun licence. The new law will also have a retroactive effect to the start of this year.
But Brugge weapons trader Jan Ruysschaert said many members of the public are not aware of the retroactive impact of the new law due to "vague" media reports.
"Since the parliamentary debate over the new, stricter weapons law started, my turnover has increased by 15 to 20 percent," he said.
"The buyers are people who want to quickly get hold of a gun before the new law comes into effect."
Some weapons traders have sold as many guns in the past few weeks as they normally sell in a year.
But Christian Democrat CD&V MP and justice spokesman Tony Van Parys said the buyers have miscalculated the pending legislation.
He said anyone who bought a weapon after 1 January 2006 will soon be subjected to the new law, which could be in force within two weeks.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news