German MP says gun laws sufficient after latest shooting

21st September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A senior German MP said Tuesday that tougher gun laws were not the answer after four people including a five-year-old died in the latest armed rampage to rock the country in recent years.

The latest incident late on Sunday saw a 41-year-old lawyer and hobby markswoman allegedly kill her estranged husband and their son and then shoot several others, one fatally, with a gun she legally owned and kept at home.

Wolfgang Bosbach, the head of a parliamentary commission on domestic issues, said that banning people from having weapons at home and keeping them in communal storage sites would be "counter-productive."

"Banning the private ownership of guns would not increase domestic security but would create whole new sources of danger," Bosbach, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung daily.

Locking up the estimated 10 million privately owned weapons in Germany would be costly, and a robbery on a storage site "would be enough to equip a small private army," he said.

German gun laws were tightened after two school massacres in the eastern city of Erfurt in April 2002 and in the southwestern town of Winnenden in March 2009, both of which were also carried out with legal weapons.

Konrad Freiberg, head of police union GdP, told ZDF public television that the problem was what he called an "immense" failure to implement the new rules and an "irresponsible" lack of progress in creating a weapons register.

"After Winnenden gun owners were meant to be able to be checked, including when there is no criminal suspicion. This has hardly happened and there aren't enough personnel. The implementation deficit is immense," he said.

"After Winnenden a weapons register was supposed to be created. We know how many bananas are imported but not the number of guns ... It is negligent and irresponsible that this is happening so late. This could really save lives."

On Tuesday, the trial was due to resume of the father of the 17-year-old Winnenden gunman, Joerg Kretschmer, on charges of manslaughter and breaking gun laws.

Tim Kretschmer took the 9mm Beretta pistol he used to kill 15 people and then himself from his father's bedside where he kept it instead of keeping it behind lock and key, prosecutors allege.

In Sunday's incident in Loerrach, southwest Germany, police said the woman, named in media reports as Sabine R., blew up the apartment containing the bodies of her husband and son.

She then made her way to the gynaecological department of a nearby hospital where she had a miscarriage in 2004, killing one member of staff before dying in a shootout with police.

© 2010 AFP

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