Austria has seen huge growth in the issue of handgun permits and weapon sales in recent months, following the Paris terror attacks and ongoing European migrant crisis.
In Vienna, Austria’s largest city and national capital, the number of weapon permits issued per month used to be a relatively steady average of 100. Since September, however, the numbers have grown exponentially, reports Austrian national broadcaster ORF.
Evidencing Austrians’ growing desire for self-defence, the number of weapons permits issued in Vienna doubled in October and redoubled to 457 for the month of November 2015. Speaking to ORF, the industry spokesman for the arms trade in the Chamber of Commerce, Robert Siegert, explained:
“It’s certainly true that people’s general sense of unease has increased.”
Further backing his argument, Mr. Siegert told the broadcaster that although he did not have the exact figures larger weapon shops in urban areas have reportedly seen a sharp rise in sales of self-defence weapons such as pepper spray, blank-firing guns and tasers.
Despite the rise in reported sexual violence in Vienna in recent months, some are still dismissive of the need for handgun permits and self-defence equipment. One criminal sociologist, Reinhard Kreissl, told ORF that Vienna remains a very safe city with a generally low crime rate, so in his opinion the desire for self-defence is “relatively pointless”.
The increased demand was already in evidence before the migrant sex assaults that took place in many European cities on New Year’s Eve. ORF reports that in the Austrian region bordering Slovenia — an area which has borne the brunt of the ongoing migrant crisis — some districts have seen applications for handgun permits growing fourfold in the last year, reversing a declining trend observed in preceding years.
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