There's an odd statistic that appeared in German news this week. The authorities are still busy with their central government database which lists all gun owners. Call it final touches or whatever....but they finally have a computerized database which matches up serials of guns and the owners.
So the statistic is this.....there are around 300,000 gun owners who noted themselves as "hunters", while the bulk of gun-ownership fell to "sports-enthusiasts" who were around 1.1 million total.
Why the difference?
To be a hunter in Germany....it's almost like getting an associate's degree. By the time you do all the classes and take the practice test, and get to an end-point, you really have to know alot about hunting and animals.
You don't just pop up on a Monday.....say you'd like to go out and buy a gun, get a license by Friday, and hunt this weekend. That just won't happen in Germany.
So you go and register with a local hunting club in your town or village. You start taking these nightly or weekend classes, and you advance to a point where you take a pretty hefty test. You take an entire day of first aide training along the way. You learn various guns, and clean them as part of the class.
At the end of this effort....you pass the exam and hand the certificate over to the local cops who register you in the system. Now, you can buy your weapon, and be recognized far and wide in the region as a hunter.
Your mental status? Oh, that was noted early on in the process as your local doctor signed a note attesting you are physically and mentally up to standards. Nuts don't get approval or hunt in Germany.
From a country of eighty million people....there are only 300k people (mostly men, but there's some women sprinkled into the group) who officially hunt. It would have been interesting to ask a age count or more in-depth numbers off the database. I'm guessing that someone will eventually do that.
So when you venture out into the German countryside, and note two guys walking off into the woods with shotguns....you can note that they are two of the 300k. And if you stopped to ask forty questions on hunting....you might be surprised at the amount of knowledge that both have. They aren't pretenders....they are the real thing.