Berlin – Germany’s government faced calls to toughen gun ownership laws and step up efforts to track far-right sympathisers, a media report said on Friday.
Bild, Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper, wrote that the calls came after the suspect in one of its worst mass shootings since World War Two was found to have published a racist manifesto.
The 43-year-old presumed killer of nine people in two shisha bars in the southwestern town of Hanau had posted the document, espousing conspiracy theories and deeply racist views, online.
The suspect, who is believed to have killed himself and his mother, belonged to a gun club, raising questions as to how a man with such ideological convictions managed to gain membership, and obtain the weapons used in the attack.
“We need new and stricter laws to regularly and thoroughly check owners of hunting and firearm licenses.
“We immediately need more intelligence positions to monitor right-wing radicals and intervene before it’s too late,” Bild wrote on its front page.
Germany’s prosecutor general said that the suspect had a license for two weapons, and it remained unclear whether he had contacts with other far-right sympathisers at home or abroad.
In October 2019, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government outlawed the sale of guns to members of extremist groups monitored by security agencies, and obliged online platforms to inform police about hate content.
Those measures followed the killing of a pro-immigration German politician in June and an attack four months later on a synagogue and a kebab shop in Halle by an anti-Semitic gunman who live streamed his actions.
No fewer than five of the Hanau victims were Turkish nationals, Ankara’s ambassador to Berlin said on Thursday as his government demanded a robust response, calls echoed by representatives of Germany’s large Kurdish community.
Driven in part by a rise in immigration, popular support for far-right groups is growing in Germany in conjunction with a shift away from the political mainstream.