Despite protestations from American gun control activists that “mass shooting” incidents only occur in America these days, it appears that a man armed with a firearm opened fire on a high speed train in Europe earlier today. The attacker injured two people aboard a high speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris before a pair of American military members tackled and subdued the man. Early reports said that the man was armed with an AK-47 rifle, but the Associated Press is saying that a handgun was actually used in the attack. From the AP (photo credit via them):
A gunman opened fire on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris on Friday, wounding two people before two American passengers subdued him, officials said.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking in Arras in northern France where the suspected was detained, said one of the Americans was hospitalized with serious wounds. Their names were not immediately released.
Philippe Lorthiois, an official with the Alliance police union, said on i-Tele that the two Americans were soldiers. In Washington, the Pentagon said it “can only confirm that one U.S. military member was injured in the incident. The injury is not life-threatening.”
The White House issued a statement saying that President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting, and said, “While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy.”
Contrary to early reports, Lorthiois said the attacker did not fire his automatic weapon but wounded one man with a handgun and the other with a blade of some kind.
Firearms ownership is heavily regulated in The Netherlands, and their gun control scheme is pretty much the wet dream of every gun control activist in the US. Firearms are only available to those who are members of a shooting club, and even then a background check is required (which includes restrictions for drug use and mental illness). Gun owners may only have five firearms registered to them, annual inspections by the police are mandatory, and the use of a firearm for self defense is pretty much illegal (it is only OK if it is “equal force,” so if you shoot someone running at you with a knife you will be thrown in jail).
This latest incident follows a number of high profile firearms related mass shooting incidents in Europe, most notably the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris in January of this year.