87,322 registered guns in Luxembourg
(CS) At the start of August this year there were 87,322 registered shooting weapons in Luxembourg, an increase of nearly 900 firearms over the course of three years, but a review of local arms laws proposed in 2013 has seen little progress so far.
The weapons legally owned in the country at the start of this month were distributed among 15,174 registered owners – an average of over five firearms per person. These include air-guns and air-rifles used in sports shooting.
Then Justice Minister François Biltgen in January 2013 had proposed to review Luxembourg arms laws with a view to making them stricter. The suggestion was made after a number of shootings in Europe and a 16 percent increase in firearms registered in Luxembourg in the decade from 2003 to 2013.
Biltgen at the time called this rise of privately owned weapons alarming, urging for a debate in parliament on the topic with a view to strengthening existing legal provisions.
He feared that while the weapons were legally acquired for sports shooting or hunting purposes, a number of owners were only using this as a front to keep a weapon at home, for example for self-defence purposes, which is illegal in the country.
However, following Biltgen's departure from his post as Justice Minister to join the European Court of Justice and the subsequent change in government, not much progress on the topic was made.
Since then, the number of registered guns has increased even further, from 86,427 in 2013 to 87,322 in August this year. This does not include illegal weapons in the country, of which there is also a significant number.
Last year alone, 46 semi-automatic rifles, 43 revolvers or pistols and four assault rifles were seized by Luxembourg police, with the weapons bought on the black market, often outside of the Grand Duchy.
This is also where some of the problem lies. Sports shooting associations say that Luxembourg already has very strict gun-ownership laws. Regardless of the laws in place, if someone is desperate to own a weapon, they will find a way illegally, as the number of seized weapons prove.
And even though the current coalition government upon taking office said it would pick up on Biltgen's idea, the promised debate has not yet materialised.
Reporting by Michel Thiel
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