German gun maker Walther is the subject of a breathless story at dw.de that details charges made by something called the Outcry Campaign (Stoppt den Waffenhandel!). The anti-arms trade org – their goal is to enshrine the prohibition of arms exports in the German Constitution – points out that Colombia’s state-owned arms seller, Indumil, features Walther handguns stamped “Made in Germany” despite the South American country being a “conflict” zone. And while Walther claims they don’t know how their guns got into Indumil’s inventory, Outcry’s Jürgen Grässlin isn’t buying it . . .
Though Grässlin has filed charges against Walther with a local prosecutor, the situation on the ground may be a little more complicated.
“The state company Indumil manufacturers P99 pistols at its factory in Cordova in Colombia,” he told DW. “There may have also been direct exports. We saw pistols stamped ‘Made in Germany,'” …
There are several ways German weapons could have reached Colombia, according to Grässlin. While Walther may have exported the weapons directly, it could also have sold them first to a subsidiary in the United States, which would be legal as the US is a partner in the NATO alliance. Should the weapons have been then sold to Colombia it would run against the end-of-use declarations made by arms exporters detailing which countries the weapons are sent to and what purposes they will serve there. Grässlin said his organization also wanted to find out if weapons were being manufactured illegally in Colombia. “Indumil aggressively advertises that it manufactures Walther carbines as well as an arsenal of Walther pistols,” Grässlin said.
Should this prove to be the case, it could represent a breach of the War Weapons Control Act as well as export restrictions. The Federal Office for Economics and Export Control (BAFA) confirmed for DW that “there have been no export licenses issued to Colombia for these weapons or technology from 1993 to today.”
Nick will be jetting off this week to attend the IWA in the Fatherland for TTAG. We’ll see if he can wheedle a juicy quote on the subject out of Walther’s booth staff. Watch this space.