For the black market, everything stays the same

Saturday, January 12th, 2019

Gun ownership is rising across Europe, the Wall Street Journal reports:

The uptick was spurred in part by insecurity arising from terrorist attacks—many with firearms, and reflects government efforts to get illegal guns registered by offering amnesty to owners.

Europe is still far from facing the gun prevalence and violence in Latin America or the U.S., which lead the world. World-wide civilian ownership of firearms rose 32% in the decade through 2017, to 857.3 million guns, according to the Small Arms Survey, a research project in Geneva. Europe accounts for less than 10% of the total.

But Europe’s shift has been rapid, and notable in part because of strict national restrictions. In most European countries, gun permits require thorough background checks, monitored shooting practice and tests on regulations. In Belgium, France and Germany, most registered guns may only be used at shooting ranges. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges are extremely difficult to obtain.

Strict registration requirements don’t account for—and may exacerbate—a surge in illegal weapons across the continent, experts say.

Europe’s unregistered weapons outnumbered legal ones in 2017, 44.5 million to 34.2 million, according to the Small Arms Survey. Many illegal weapons come from one-time war zones, such as countries of the former Yugoslavia, and others are purchased online, including from vendors in the U.S.


Armed robbery and similar crimes often entail illicit guns, while legally registered firearms tend to appear in suicide and domestic-violence statistics, said Nils Duquet of the Flemish Peace Institute, a Belgian research center.

“It’s clear that illegal guns are used mostly by criminals,” he said.


In Germany, the number of legally registered weapons rose roughly 10%, to 6.1 million, in the five years through 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, according to Germany’s National Weapons Registry. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges more than tripled to 9,285, over the same five years.

Permits for less lethal air-powered guns that resemble real guns and shoot tear gas or loud blanks to scare away potential attackers roughly doubled in the three years through the end of 2017, to 557,560, according to the registry.


In Belgium, firearm permits and membership in sport-shooting clubs has risen over the past three years.

Belgian applications for shooting licenses almost doubled after the terrorist attacks by an Islamic State cell in Paris in Nov. 2015 and four months later in Brussels, offering “a clear indication of why people acquired them,” said Mr. Duquet.


Belgium has for years tightened regulations in response to gun violence, such as a 2006 killing spree by an 18-year-old who legally acquired a rifle.

“Before 2006, you could buy rifles simply by showing your ID,” recalled Sébastien de Thomaz, who owns two shooting ranges in Brussels and previously worked in a gun store.

“They used to let me shoot with all my stepfather’s guns whenever I joined him at the range,” said Lionel Pennings, a Belgian artist who joins his stepfather at one of Mr. De Thomaz’s shooting ranges on Sundays.

Mr. Pennings recalled that in the past he could easily fire a few rounds with his stepfather’s gun. “Now it’s much stricter,” he said. “You can only use the guns you have a permit for.”

A Belgian would-be gun owner must pass almost a year of shooting and theory tests, plus psychological checks, said Mr. De Thomaz.

The gun-range owner questions the impact of that policy. “With each terror attack, the legislation gets stricter,” he said. “For the black market, everything stays the same.”


  1. Ezra says:

    Lots of guns all over Europe after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Various eastern European manufacturers such as Arsenal in Bulgaria able to sell in Europe where previously could not. Lots of black market weapons, AK and such, now available and have been for some time. Gangs a major problem in Europe. And having demographic consistencies such as groups of Chechens, Kurds, Turks, etc. Outsiders for the most part.

  2. Kirk says:

    Yeah. From what I remember, with the exception of the UK, the rest of Europe is a bit different when it comes to compliance with the government. I knew some Germans who still had access to well-preserved stuff from WWII, and then there were the things that the modern German government “lost control of”, and which would have turned up in the resistance movements if the Soviets had ever come westwards. There was also an awful lot of crap that “fell off of trucks…” heading eastwards when the Russians pulled out.

    I would not place bets but that there’s a sufficient amount of weaponry out there to get something major going, and enable the capture of government-held arsenals. The Red Army Faction didn’t have a lot of trouble putting their hands on cutting-edge stuff like HK VP70M full-auto pistols, and I don’t think things have changed.

    Now, what’s gonna be interesting? If people start using that stuff. I suspect that the pressure to “do something” about the migrant problem is going to continue to build, and the “authorities” are going to continue to deny that there is a problem, and then there’s gonna be some triggering incident like that one in Amberg the other day, and… Boom. The hidden stocks are gonna come out of the Cosmoline, and it’s gonna be open season on what the authorities call “asylum seekers”. Once enough of the public figures out that they’re not alone in their feelings, well… Preference cascade, similar to how the Soviet Union came down, but this one is gonna be a lot more violent, and directed at the “other” inside the European polity. I’m gonna further prognosticate that the “authorities” are going to keep doubling down on this kumbayah bullshit, and the ethnic European masses are going to separate more and more from their “elites”, until the moment comes where everyone realizes they’re actually on opposite sides. Graduates of the Ecole Polytechnique will likely find themselves decorating lamp posts along the Champs Elysees shortly thereafter…

    The change, when it comes, is going to be sudden. And, no doubt, there will be those saying “I didn’t see it coming…!”. Just like the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of the Shah, and everything else “unpredictable” that has actually happened in the last two generations…

  3. Wan Wei Lin says:

    Ezra says, “And having demographic consistencies such as groups of Chechens, Kurds, Turks, etc.”

    I’ll say it, radical Islam/Muslims. They are the common denominator in most terrorism around the world from southern Thailand to London unfit for modernity, period.

  4. Kirk says:

    I don’t think it’s so much “modernity”, whatever the hell that might be. Islam is a religion that has historically had major problems when it comes to “playing nicely with others”. No matter where you look, wherever there is a critical mass of Muslims, you see violence. That’s not accidental, or a simple coincidence.

    Islam alone of the world’s major religions teaches its adherents that it is admirable to lie in the furtherance of its interests, and coupled with the exhortation to convert by the sword, well…

  5. Albion says:

    I take Kirk’s point that in the West Germany, the authorities happily “lost’ track of weapons, just in case the Soviets barged in at some point and resistance was needed. Resistance cells were set up in the UK in 1940 in case Germany activated Operation Sealion.

    However I take issue with the fact that the “asylum seekers” are going to simply targets. I (and many others) see them as infiltrated soldiers. Young men arriving, and many of them with training. Mosques have held arms caches, and I believe that in Greece a shipment of ‘humanitarian aid’ from the middle east to a refugee camp turned out to be full of weapons. Our feeble authorities are eager to clamp down on the native populations but not so good at stopping the potential Islamic army getting ready. After all, don’t training camps exist already in the wilds of America?

    In the end, it will be who has the greater number of weapons and the most willpower to complete the job. Right now, I’d say it’s about 50/50.

  6. Kirk says:


    In my experience, the Islamics are not very good at actually getting things done. They’re poseurs, mostly, and all too prone to “making the gesture”. Analyze most of their brilliant strategies, and you find a lot of contiguity with the South Park Underwear Gnomes, whose business plan consisted of “1. Steal underwear 2.??? 3. Profit!”. That’s basically what bin Laden had worked out for 9/11: “1. Destroy World Trade Towers 2.??? 3. Ultimate Islamic Victory!!!”. Didn’t work out so well, did it?

    Most ethnic Europeans, on the other hand…? LOL. If there is one thing that they’re really, really good at, it’s killing people. It ain’t accidental that the Bosnian Muslims wound up in the situation they did, even in areas of Bosnia where they were nearly in the majority.

    Speaking as a student of history? I think you could typify the Islamic world as being a bunch of fantasy-prone dreamers, and most Europeans being a bunch of cold-bloodedly pragmatic types, who tend to go overboard once they’ve made up their minds. Ask the Cathars or the natives of the Vendee region who weren’t on-board with the French Revolution. The migrants are pretty much going to evaporate once the motivation is created. And, along with them? Poof! There go most of the current lot running things in Europe. What takes their place, I won’t even speculate, but I doubt think that getting from here to there ain’t going to be at all pretty.

  7. Kirk says:

    That “doubt” in the last sentence ought to be “think”. Coming back to something in mid-stream, and then hitting “submit comment” without doing a thorough re-read is always a mistake…

  8. Sam J. says:

    “… That’s basically what bin Laden had worked out for 9/11: “1. Destroy World Trade Towers 2.??? 3. Ultimate Islamic Victory!!!”…”

    This is not even remotely true. Anyone that says anything other than a “controlling entity” brought down the WTC complex is a “Spoofer”. Arabs didn’t do it.

    How do we know for sure. For a 100% fact with no doubt at all. Building 7 fell the same speed as a rock dropped in “AIR” for roughly 108 feet. Now the forces on things dropping are gravity and the media in which it is falling, in this case air. The building and the rock have the exact same force on them and will fall the same way. The building fell the same speed as the rock, supported by air so what held the building up. There’s only one answer. If the building fell like a rock in air then the building was only supported by AIR. There is no other answer. Now we all know the building wasn’t floating in the air this means some sort of demo removed the support. There’s no way in hell that Bin Laden could have got people into the WTC complex and wired the buildings with explosives.

    But the Jewish guy that bought the complex could have.

  9. CVLR says:

    “Islam alone of the world’s major religions teaches its adherents that it is admirable to lie in the furtherance of its interests, and coupled with the exhortation to convert by the sword, well…”

    I can think of at least one other semitic cult fitting that description…

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