Crime: Debate on gun laws after the Hamburg shooting

The Hamburg shooting has brought the debate about stricter gun laws back into focus.

Crime: Debate on gun laws after the Hamburg shooting

The Hamburg shooting has brought the debate about stricter gun laws back into focus. One day after the crime in which eight people died and several were injured in the premises of Jehovah's Witnesses, Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) announced that she wanted to review the draft amendment to the Weapons Act again. You now have to think about "how we can go back to the draft law with this recent terrible shooting in Hamburg to see: Are there still gaps, or where was it exactly right?" Faeser told the ARD "Tagesthemen" on Friday evening.

There was no new information on the condition of the injured as of Saturday afternoon. As the police situation center also informed on request, plans for funeral marches or commemorative events for this weekend were not yet known.

Even if the topic of gun law has not yet been on the agenda of the Bundestag's internal affairs committee, it should continue to cause discussions. Most recently, Faeser had turned the hunters' and riflemen's associations against her with her plans for more controls and regulations. These in turn received support from the FDP.

Do gun laws need to be changed?

"Mentally ill people are not allowed to own firearms. It is good and right that the gun law already regulates this unequivocally today," said the deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, Konstantin Kuhle, on Saturday of the German Press Agency. "Haste demands for legislative consequences" are "not indicated". The deputy FDP party leader Wolfgang Kubicki told the Welt television channel: "The natural reaction of initially wanting to ban everything is out of the question. That's an understandable human reaction, but when in doubt it doesn't help."

In the act on Thursday in Hamburg, seven people died and the perpetrator himself. Eight other people were injured, four of them life-threatening. The 35-year-old Philipp F. had shot more than 100 times with a semi-automatic pistol. Police President Ralf Martin Meyer said at a press conference that he had been in legal possession of this weapon since December 12. According to information from security circles, the shooter was not known to be an extremist.

The motive of the perpetrator continues to be a mystery

Many questions now arise: Should the authorities (sooner) have reacted? Did the perpetrator get his gun too easily or were anonymous tips that the man was mentally disturbed not taken seriously? Would it have caught the eye of a psychiatrist or psychologist? According to the first findings, nothing was known about an earlier drug conspicuousness. There is no corresponding entry regarding drug offenses, said a spokesman for the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior. Previously there had been reports of possible drug abuse by Philipp F. in the past. He comes from Memmingen in Bavaria and has been registered in Hamburg since 2015.

The exact motive of Philipp F. continues to be puzzled. The anonymous whistleblower drew the arms authority's attention to his "particular anger towards religious followers, especially towards Jehovah's Witnesses", as Meyer announced on Friday. Philipp F. revealed a lot about himself and his world of ideas on the Internet. The perpetrator's website shows, for example, that he dealt intensively with God and Jesus Christ and spread crude theses.

Philipp F. was a marksman, had a gun license and had only recently been visited by the gun authority. In January, the authorities received an anonymous tip about a possible mental illness from Philipp F. This was visited unannounced in early February by two officials from the Weapons Authority.

At that time there were no relevant complaints, the legal options had been exhausted, said Meyer. The overall circumstances would not have given the officials any clues "that could have indicated a mental illness". At this point, Philipp F. disappeared from the authorities' radar again, until this Thursday, until the act of violence that Hamburg's Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD) later described as "the worst crime in our city's recent history".

Weapons Act § 5 Research Service of the Bundestag for reliability testing F