The coalition's hot topic: renewed debate about gun laws after the shooting in Hamburg

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

The coalition's hot topic: renewed debate about gun laws after the shooting in Hamburg

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 have to think about "how we can go back to the draft law with this recent terrible amok attack in Hamburg to see: Are there still gaps, or where was it exactly right?" Faeser said on Friday evening to the ARD "Tagesthemen".

There was initially no new information from the police on Sunday about the condition of the injured. Plans for funeral marches or commemorative events were also not announced at the weekend.

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.

Konstantin Kuhle, deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group, told the dpa on Saturday that mentally ill people are not allowed to own firearms. "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."

Shot more than 100 times

In the act on Thursday evening in the north of Hamburg, seven people died and the perpetrator himself. The police also counted an unborn child among the dead. 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. Hamburg's police chief Ralf Martin Meyer said 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.

Furthermore, many questions arise. Should the authorities (earlier) 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.

Philipp F.'s motive remains unclear

After the fact, the left demands clarification from the Senate. The Senate must fully enlighten the interior committee on open questions relating to the killing spree, said Deniz Celik, spokesman for domestic affairs for the left-wing faction in the Hamburg Parliament. "According to the latest findings, the question of whether the killing spree could have been prevented must be asked again. The crude theses presented on the website and in the book paint a picture of a confused, religious extremist," said Celik.

The exact motive of Philipp F. is still puzzled. The anonymous whistleblower drew the arms authority's attention to his "particular anger at religious followers, especially Jehovah's Witnesses," as Meyer said. 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".