French look to arm themselves after attacks

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French look to arm themselves after attacks
Photo: AFP

Recent shocking terror attacks in France have encouraged many to try to get hold of their own firearms, new figures reveal.


A spate of shocking terror attacks on French soil in recent years has left many in France fearful.

As a result there has a been a surge in the number of people joining gun clubs and looking to arm themselves.

An investigation by the Nouvel Observateur website found that the number of people signing up to become licensed members at shooting clubs has risen 38 percent in five years.  

And in the past year alone there has been a 10 percent increase, believed to be down to the spate of terror attacks that began with the massacre at Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

“Before the beginning of 2015, it was just a vague trend. But since the attacks at Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan and Nice, the movement has amplified,” writes the Nouvel Obs.

Having a gun no longer seems to be a taboo subject in France.

“It’s just to have some means of defense at home,” Marc, a 35-year-old father told the newspaper.

There are now some 201,450 people signed up at official shooting clubs and France can count 4.4 million legally owned weapons. Although many of those who have signed up are police officers who want to practice firing their weapon.

The French government has recently given off-duty police officers the right to carry their arms and has encouraged municipal police to take their right to bear weapons on duty.

But Arpac, an organisation that is in favour of the public having the right to carry weapons, says it has received hundreds of inquiries since the terror attacks.

It seems not all of those who have decided to arm themselves are doing so legally with France seeing a steep rise in the number of illegal guns seized, according to the interior ministry.

A prosecutor told the Nouvel Observateur that police raids during the state of emergency have opened their eyes to the huge problem of illegal weapons.

The interior ministry has reacted by setting up a new database of all those with arms in a bid to increase control.

Thierry Costes from the French shooting association confirmed many members of the public were inquiring about how to get a gun, but were put off by all the regulations. 



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