France has a large number of legal firearms and firearm owners. That number is growing, as explained in an English language French publication. From thelocal.fr:
As a result there has a been a surge in the number of people joining gun clubs and looking to arm themselves.
An investigation by the Nouvel Observateur website found that the number of people signing up to become licensed members at shooting clubs has risen 38 percent in five years.
And in the past year alone there has been a 10 percent increase, believed to be down to the spate of terror attacks that began with the massacre at Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
“Before the beginning of 2015, it was just a vague trend. But since the attacks at Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan and Nice, the movement has amplified,” writes the Nouvel Obs.
Having a gun no longer seems to be a taboo subject in France.
There are a healthy number of gun clubs in France. They can be found at this link.
Most of the increase in gun ownership is only to have a gun in the home. It is almost impossible for a private citizen to legally carry a firearm for defensive purposes. But the French attitude may be changing. Off duty police officers have been encouraged to carry.
The French government has recently given off-duty police officers the right to carry their arms and has encouraged municipal police to take their right to bear weapons on duty.
But Arpac, an organisation that is in favour of the public having the right to carry weapons, says it has received hundreds of inquiries since the terror attacks.
There are a great many guns in France that are “off the books”. It is illegal to own these firearms, or to carry them. France is credited with having millions of illegal guns in the country. The number is estimated at 7.5 million legal guns and 10-20 million illegal guns, many of them firearms from WWII.
If France backs off of its current strict gun control scheme, it will likely attempt some form of “amnesty” to have the illegal firearms brought into government control. Having had numerous firearms declared illegal in the past, and confiscated, it is likely that few old guns will be registered.
It seems not all of those who have decided to arm themselves are doing so legally with France seeing a steep rise in the number of illegal guns seized, according to the interior ministry.
There are strict penalties for illegally carrying a gun in France. As with much of the world, a well known and respected citizen in a rural area, is much less likely to be searched or prosecuted than a poor urban dweller.
As terror attacks become more frequent, the push to allow citizens to carry guns will increase.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.