It's a short seven-line story which I noted in N-TV News today (our German commercial news media)....on weapons in Germany.
The Green Party came up in the Bundestag....apparently having some inside information.....making a request that the German cops report via the National Arms Register.....about guns missing or stolen.
It's not typically something that would come up.
At the conclusion of January....the database showed a total of 24,531 guns which were either lost or stolen. That's over a one-year period.
The only significant factor in the story is that it's a 18-percent increase over the previous year.....but beyond that? No.
So on these cop reports (remember how Germans are fanatical about data collection)....they actually two categories: lost, and stolen.
The bulk of these guns that disappeared.....were simply noted as 'lost' (19,282). The rest (5,249) were absolutely stolen.
The Greens are naturally disturbed by this whole thing and want something done about this.
So, I sat and thought about this whole thing. There's five observations or funny things about this whole story.
1. Any American or Brit who has ever encountered a German....knows that they are a bit obsessive and particular about their property. They don't lose property. You can go and ask Henz about the shovels in his basement, and he'll respond that he has four....telling you the year each was bought and why each is for a different purpose. You can ask Greta about the number of pots in the kitchen, and she'll tell you the precise number. So I'm having a problem believing the simple story of 'lost' guns.
2. Each hunter or gun-owner must have a lockable case within the house for his weapons. Each one that he owns.....has to be maintained in that case unless he goes off with it to a hunt or a shooting range. So losing guns? It's just not likely.
3. A fair number of guys get up into their 70s, and my suspicion is that the wife or kids reach some stage where they really don't trust the old guy to have guns around. So they quietly take the key.....liberate the guns.....burying them somewhere, and a month or even a year later....the old guy is opening up the case....expecting seven hunting rifles (his intent was the yearly cleaning) and find none, and report it as such.
4. A number of German gun-owners are collectors of antique type weapons. While their use is still possible as a weapon....their value is as some collection piece. I have another suspicion that various guys are getting offers on their big collectible items from a guy who has no license....he just wants to own a 120-year-old rifle...without all the paperwork, stress, etc. So the original guy simply says he lost the gun. The new owner has a private display in his 'man-cave' and proudly talks of some 1890s American rifle.
5. Finally, I come to the odd problem of hunts in Germany.....where a whole club will come out.....do a day of hunting in some national range area. They finish the day displaying the animals hunted, and toast each off with a drink, or two, or three. It is conceivable that a couple of guys could be sitting at some camp area and the non-drinker comes up to retrieve these guys for their ride home.....and some gun gets left there in the woods by a tree. I know.....it would be odd, but there always seems to be a drink or two at the conclusion of these hunts.
The sad thing here is that the Greens will force this issue onto the next level. The guy with the lost gun will be pushed to appear in front of some judge to swear on the events, and then someone will suggest that if you lost one gun.....you should be permanently denied the ability to own any guns. Or you could see fines set for folks.....of a thousand Euro for each lost weapon.
Two years ago, I stood at the Frankfurt Airport, next to the open line of folks flying down to Namibia over-night. Here were six to eight German hunters....with their weapon cases, and going through the police check-out point with the guns and paperwork noted.....being carried down for some safari hunt. I would assume they'd bring their guns back. But you'd have to wonder.....with all the hassle involved, if you were a regular once a year traveler to Namibia....why bring the gun back? If this were me, I'd travel back....six months later report the gun just plain 'missing', and avoid all the hassle involved by just keeping my hunting weapon in Namibia with some hunting lodge.