Federal court of arrest rejects claims for a ban on lethal sporting firearms

Parents of victims of the rampage in winnenden have failed for the time being to enforce a stricter weapons law

After the winnenden killing spree (2009), two parents of victims and the spokesman of the initiative "no murder weapons as sporting weapons!" representing his two school-age children filed lawsuits against the german weapons law with the federal constitutional court. The existing weapons law "inadmissible the right to practice the sport of shooting over the right to life and physical integrity", so the reasoning of the verfangsbeschwerde.

The argument is that the existing weapons law could not prevent massacres like the one in winnenden. The state is not sufficiently fulfilling its duty to protect because the possession of lethal firearms continues to be permitted:

In fact, in recent years, the law on weapons has not provided the general public with sufficient protection in practice against various series of murders with private legal weapons. And also at present and in the future the current weapon law makes crimes against life with private legal thrust weapons obviously not or only slightly more difficult.

In addition, it is argued that the pursuit of a hobby is placed higher than the absolutely necessary protection of the right to life and physical integrity. The "private legal use of deadly sport weapons" would not be a necessity, but this would be "highly dangerous hobby". A ban on all deadly sporting weapons, regardless of their caliber, is demanded.

The federal court of arrest rejected the claims today. It is true that the state has a duty to protect the fundamental right to life and physical integrity, which also includes the right to life and physical integrity "dangers of abuse" belong, "which emanate from the handling of firearms". A neglect could also be asserted. However, the federal court of arrest does not see itself in a position to review the decisions as to what measures are required for this purpose.

According to established case law, the federal arrest court can therefore only find a breach of the duty to protect if the public authority has not taken any protective measures at all or if the measures taken are completely unsuitable or completely inadequate to achieve the required protective objective. According to this standard, the relevant provisions of the weapons act cannot be objected to in the first place.

In the end, this says that the federal appellate court cannot or will not review whether a gun law-or other protective order-is sufficient, provided that a regulation has been adopted by the state that is not "in its entirety wholly inappropriate or wholly impermissible" ware. The federal court of arrest pays to prove the requirements and restrictions of the applicable firearms law regulations such as proof of age, reliability, the "necessary expertise and a need" without commenting on them or judging them further. Thus, the use of coarse-caliber firearms for sport is also still permitted. And succinctly it states in conclusion:

In view of the legislature’s broad scope for assessment, evaluation and design in fulfilling its duty to protect, the complainants do not have a fundamental-rights claim to more far-reaching measures or to specific measures such as the ban on sporting weapons.

Roman grafe, the spokesman for the initiative, is outraged by this decision and speaks of a "moral declaration of surrender" as well as of a "triumph of criminal irrationality". The federal constitutional court has "deadly ignorance", that prevails in society, approved: "the moral failure is almost comprehensive – no party, no government, no majority in the bundestag is fighting for a ban on all deadly sporting weapons. No church and no union. " he announced that the plaintiffs would appeal to the european court of human rights.

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