Security minister to restrict Dutch gun laws

11th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Security and Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten says he is going to restrict firearms licences to weapons that are not designed to hit moving targets.

Minister Opstelten referred to the massacre in the Dutch town of Alpen aan den Rijn in April of this year, when a man used just such a gun to kill six people and injure 17 others before killing himself.

“Such weapons”, the security minister said, “are not intended for use at a shooting club. They’re made to hit moving targets. It’s unacceptable for members of a shooting club to have such a weapon, let alone keep one at home”.

Though the minister is still awaiting a number of reports on the massacre, he announced he would go ahead and tackle the issue before the review is completed by changing the existing regulation concerning firearms licences and shooting clubs.

To prevent another massacre, Mr Opstelten called on mental health workers to alert the police whenever they detect worrying symptoms—even if they breach the professional confidentiality in doing so.

Two years before the Alphen aan den Rijn massacre, police had the gunman locked up in a psychiatric facility but later nonetheless issued him with a gun permit and several mental health workers and institutions who were aware of the threat he posed failed to report him to the police saying the professional confidentiality to which they are bound had prevented them from doing so.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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