UPDATE: The alleged gunman reportedly took hostages inside the move theater in Viernheim. Officials are looking into whether tear gas may have caused some of the casualties. Yet, The Hollywood Reporter is saying that the rifle the gunman possessed might not have been loaded with live ammunition. These updates came from Peter Beuth, the interior minister for the state of Hessen.
Washington D.C.–Our own Leigh Wolf ventured back onto the Capitol Grounds to cover the rally that was supporting the handful of Democratic House members who staged a sit-in to force Speaker Ryan to hold a vote on gun control measures.
“No bill, no break” is their rallying cry. They took the floor yesterday and stayed there throughout the night, vowing to not leave until a vote is called. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) ventured just outside the Capitol building to meet with the protestors, where Wolf asked the congressman about the recent shooting at a German movie theater that recently came to a close. The event seemed to have only one fatality: the shooter. Twenty-five people were injured in the attack.
“We’re in a very violent period in the evolution of humanity,” Rep. Garamendi said. “And a lot of it is brought about certainly by the political religious conflicts that exist around the world, but also its brought about by the proliferation of weapons…weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an individual that has hate in their heart,” he added.
First, like most of Europe, Germany has very tough gun control laws. The country doesn’t have a right to bear arms in its constitution. It also has a gun registry, and safe storage enforcement can include police searching your home without a warrant to ensure compliance of the law (via Library of Congress):
The current Weapons Act deals with guns suitable for private ownership. It contains a highly differentiated regime for licensing the acquisition, possession, and carrying of permitted weapons that restricts, according to criteria of need, the number and types of guns that can be owned or purchased, and has specific age restrictions for different types of weapons. The Act bans automatic firearms, regulates the production of and trade in weapons, and has reporting requirements that allow the tracing of every legally owned firearm, including those acquired through inheritance. Moreover, the Act contains stringent and enforceable requirements for the safe storage of guns. The Act is implemented by the administrative authorities of the states, except for the newly created National Weapons Register, which is a federal agency.
The general requirements for obtaining any type of weapons license are
• a minimum age of eighteen years;
• the proven reliability of the applicant;
• knowledge of weapons technology and
• law, and expertise in the use of a firearm;
• five years of residency in Germany; and
a need for the weapon.
Licensed gun owners are responsible for keeping their weapons under lock and key, and the law provides detailed specifications on the quality of the storage containers; these vary according to the potency of the weapons. Owners must inform the authorities of the safe-storage measures taken as well as allow the authorities to enter their dwellings for the purpose of monitoring compliance with safe-storage regulations.
It appears that such access must be granted without a search warrant, and, even though the German Constitution protects the privacy of the home, access cannot be refused if there is a threat of imminent danger. Random inspections, however, must be expected at any time and without any probable cause or suspicion. This increased right of the authorities to conduct inspections was enacted in 2009 in response to the Winnenden school shooting, and much has been said about the interpretation of this right.
Second, the congressman’s remarks just show how divided the interpretations of the Orlando attacks are viewed between conservatives and liberals. The killer, Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to ISIS while executing the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The congressman acknowledges this, but adds the proliferation of weapons to tie in gun control. Democrats are desperately trying to pass legislation that bars people who are on terror watch lists from buying guns. It may not sound like an irrational policy until you find out about the egregious due process of law concerns that the political left doesn’t seem take into account, nor does it appear that they care. If we have to shred the constitution for public safety, then so be it. Mateen had no criminal background history, and he wasn’t on the terror watch list. This isn’t a gun issue.
Then again, let's not pretend that Democrats don't wish that police can just search a gun owner's home without a warrant. Remember, these people are up to no good, especially if they have AR-15 rifles.