In Monday’s terror attack in Berlin, a terrorist drove a truck into a crowd of Christmas shoppers. The assault killed twelve and wounded dozens more. A Tunisian immigrant is currently the prime suspect. In response, the European Union has collectively moved forward with boldness and decision, taking an honest, top-down look at their security, immigration and foreign policies. Every serious proposal is being examined on its own merit, with no concern for previously-sacred shibboleths. E.U. leaders are putting everything on the table, with only the idea of keeping Europeans safe and prosperous as their North Star.
J/K. They’re blaming guns. From Deutsche Welle:
EU officials said the proposals, which were first mooted in 2015, will restrict access to some high-caliber weapons and give law enforcement authorities new tools to trace the weapons’ origins and avoid them being sold on the black market…
[F]irearms that are converted to blank firing weapons – for use in theaters or television – will be more tightly regulated, after “Islamic State” (IS) fighters behind the November 2015 Paris attacks had converted blank firing weapons back to lethal ones.
Short and long semi-automatic weapons with loading devices over 20 rounds will now face a ban, along with firearms that can be folded or concealed.
Standardized marking will be introduced for weapons’ components, along with the immediate registration of firearms sales, details of which will be kept in national police databases.
The rule change is the bloc’s first since 1991 and must still be voted on by the European Parliament.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that Brussels “would have liked to go further” with an all-out ban “on the most lethal semi-automatic weapons such as the Kalashnikov, also known as the AK-47” but, according to Deutsche Welle, pressure from the “gun lobby” stopped that from happening.
(Aside: don’t be surprised that the proposed ban on certain semi-automatic rifles like the AK-47 is actually an issue on the Continent. Even though European countries have highly restrictive gun control laws, people in countries like Germany can still get access to some kinds of rifles after jumping through hoops that would be highly offensive to the Bill of Rights in America. Oliver Weiss discussed German gun laws on TTAG a few years ago, if you’re curious.)
In sum, this was a bit of Euro-legislation that had been sitting on the table for a while, and a bunch of Euro-crats decided that they’d try to make it appear that they were “doing something” by moving to enact it.
Even though Sweden was not attacked in the spate of high-profile terrorist incidents hitting Europe and the Near East, Sweden’s government is concerned. Specifically, they’re concerned that Swedes might get worried about their own safety. Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman urged Swedes “not to change their way of life” in response. TheLocal.se reports:
“I believe we must continue to live our lives as we wish, and not let threats, hate or attacks change our way of living,” he told Swedish news agency TT. “Then we would have already started to give the terrorists an important part of a victory.”
In Germany, the country’s interior ministry has also said that Christmas markets should stay open in the wake of the attack.
Ygeman noted that Swedish authorities are in contact with both German police and security police, and emphasized that there has been nothing to suggest the threat level in Sweden should change following events in Berlin.
“At present there is no reason to change your behaviour, be scared or worried because of what happened in Germany,” he said.
Inconveniently for the Interior Minister, TheLocal.se also reports that “Sweden’s Security Service (Säpo) has had an “elevated” national terrorist threat level (level three on a five-level scale) in place since March 2016. “It had previously been on level four, or ‘high’, after earlier terrorist attacks in Sweden, but was lowered in March. At the time, Anders Thornberg, the Director-General of the Security Service commented that even though the threat level was being lowered, “The situation has been serious since 2010, and is still serious.”
Question: how long can a society endure when it is attacked from abroad, and the first reaction of its leaders is to attempt to disarm its people, both physically and mentally?