Gun sales in Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic are rising and recent terror attacks across Europe are cited as a “general” cause behind the increase.
Some of the recent attacks were perpetrated with firearms–consider Charlie Hebdo(January 7, 2015) and the Bataclan concert hall and other Paris locations (November 13, 2015). Other attacks were carried out with knives and/or machetes–consider London’s Leytonstone Station (December 5, 2015), Magnanville, France (June 13, 2016), and the attack on a priest in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray (July 26, 2016). Still more attacks were carried out with unorthodox weapons–consider the truck attack in Nice (July 14, 2016), which took the lives of 84 innocents and left more than 200 others injured. And many other attacks could be listed.
The point is clear–Europeans face a danger that is no long external; perpetrators are among them and ready to attack at any time. And one of the results of these attacks, and the trepidation over future ones, appears to be a new appreciation for self-defense.
According to Reuters, a surge in gun sales is particularly visible in Austria, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. Hanspeter Kruesi–“a police spokesman in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen”–said, “There’s no official explanation for the rise [in gun sales], but in general we see a connection to Europe’s terrorist attacks.”
A 55-year-old Swiss resident who just bought guns for the first time in his life suggested the sense of insecurity created by the attacks was his motivation. Wishing to remain anonymous, the Swiss resident said, “Buying weapons for self-defense won’t protect you from terrorist attacks. Nevertheless these attacks are contributing to a subjective sense of threat, as is the rising pressure from migration and the high crime rate among migrants from the Maghreb.”
And Daniel Wyss–a gun shop owner and president of the Swiss Weapons Dealers’ Association–said, “Nobody says directly: I’m buying a gun because of the attacks in Nice or Munich. But the sum of these events has fostered a general feeling of vulnerability.”
In the Czech Republic, president Milos Zeman is actively encouraging gun ownership. Zeman told Nova TV, “Citizens should be able to arm themselves … in order to be able to act against these terrorists.”
Breitbart News reported that the Alternative for Germany party leader, Frauke Petry, is also defending private gun ownership as a necessary response to the Islamist threat throughout Europe. She stands against any action in Germany that would make it harder for law-abiding citizens to acquire weapons for self-defense.