Hamburg: After rampage: Discussion about gun laws

Four days after the shooting by Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg, the discussion about tightening gun laws continues.

Hamburg: After rampage: Discussion about gun laws

Four days after the shooting by Jehovah's Witnesses in Hamburg, the discussion about tightening gun laws continues. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) called for the health authorities to be more involved in issuing gun licenses. "In the future, we want the weapons authority not only to query the security authorities and the local police, but also the health authorities," said Faeser in Bremen. There she discussed with the SPD interior ministers of the federal states, among other things, the tightening of gun laws.

Three injured are still in mortal danger

The meeting was under the impression of the rampage. The act caused immeasurable suffering, said Faeser. On Thursday evening, 35-year-old Philipp F. shot seven people in Hamburg-Alsterdorf, including an unborn child. Then he killed himself. Nine people were injured, Hamburg's Interior Senator Andy Grote reported to his SPD colleagues. Three of them were still in mortal danger. Only the rapid intervention of the police prevented the perpetrator from shooting even more people in a community hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. "We were able to save 17 people," said Grote.

Eight participants in a service suffered gunshot wounds in the hall. Another woman was the first to be shot at in her car in a parking lot near the building. She was able to escape with minor injuries. The Hamburg police did not want to comment on the progress of the investigation on Monday and instead referred to a state press conference on Tuesday. Grote and police chief Ralf Martin Meyer would report on the current status of the investigation.

Philipp F. was a former member of the Hamburg community, which he left voluntarily a year and a half ago, but apparently not on good terms, as the police, prosecutors and interior authorities said on Friday. The 35-year-old was a marksman and had a gun license. In January, the authorities received an anonymous tip about a possible mental illness from Philipp F. He was therefore visited unannounced in early February by two officers from the Weapons Authority. At that time there were no relevant complaints, the legal options had been exhausted, police chief Ralf Martin Meyer said.

It is still unclear whether and in what form there will be an official memorial service for the victims. "The considerations for such a commemoration are not yet complete," said the Senate Chancellery. The day after the crime, Grote declared: "This is the worst crime, the worst crime in our city's recent history."

Draft for stricter gun laws to be reviewed

Faeser explained that the health authorities often had knowledge of people "because they had become mentally conspicuous, were involved in any crime, were admitted to accommodation". Not only applicants up to the age of 25 should have to submit a medical or psychological report, but also older ones in the future. In January, the Federal Minister of the Interior presented a draft for stricter gun laws, which she intends to check for gaps after the events in Hamburg.

In an interview with the "Hamburger Abendblatt", Grote also demanded that applicants should submit a medical or psychological certificate before a gun license could be issued. When asked about the motive of the gunman, the senator can see a tendency: "At the moment everything indicates that the motive lies in the relationship between this community of Jehovah's Witnesses and the perpetrator as a former member of this community," said Grote the newspaper.