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Cracking Down

Germany vows to tighten gun laws after foiled coup attempt

One of Germany's top officials said Sunday that the country's gun laws needed to be strengthened in the aftermath of a suspected coup d'etat attempt by far-right insurrectionists. 

In an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the plotters were "not harmless crazy people but suspected terrorists who are now sitting in pre-trial detention." She added that German authorities needed to "exert maximum pressure" to take their firearms away, and said that the government would "shortly further tighten gun laws."

Faeser's comments come following a nationwide raid across Germany last week to stop a suspected violent overthrow of the government. Police arrested 25 people last week in relation to the plot, which reportedly aimed to install a far-right real estate broker who goes by Prince Heinrich XIII as the new head of state. 

Most of those thought to be involved with the coup were members of the Reichsbürger movement, which Politico described as a far-right group "which refuses to recognize the modern German state and aims to replace it with an authoritarian new system."

Faeser said the Reichsbürger movement represented a growing threat to Germany, and had expanded by 2,000 to 23,000 people in the last year. While authorities have confiscated weapons from at least 1,000 members, another 500 are suspected to hold firearms licenses, per Reuters

Germany already has some of the strictest gun laws in Europe. Private ownership of guns is rare in the country, and firearms licenses take a notoriously long time to obtain.