As the immigration crisis continues to intensify in Europe, Germans are buying protection - lots of it.
Recall that last year, following a 600% surge in pepper spray purchases, the country actually ended up running out of the product. Shortly thereafter, following a wave of New Year's Eve attacks, small arms sales subsequently skyrocketed.
Now we learn that in the first three months of 2016, fear continues to be on the rise, as small weapons licenses in Bavaria have already doubled the entire total for 2015. As the number of refugees rose in 2015 and into 2016, so did the number of locals applying for small weapons licenses - authorization to use blank-firing guns The Local reports. The blank-firing guns are designed to ward off attackers, but can also be deadly.
The applications for such weapons has risen steadily over the past few years, with 2014 and 2015 applications being 2,379 and 5,748 respectively. However, the first three months of 2016 has already surpassed the entire total for 2015. In February alone, 7,435 licenses were given out, and March saw another 4,677.
It bears repeating that the political landscape in Germany is shifting to a more anti-immigrant tone, as we showed in the anti-immigrant AfD party's rise in the polls (in support of the AfD's anti-Islam manifesto).
"The explosive rise in the number of small weapons licenses being handed out is worrying. We don't need the people of Bavaria to arm themselves. Possessing arms and practicing vigilante justice are not an example we want to set. The danger is that more and more conflicts will escalate if more people arm themselves. We need to act against this." said Katharina Schulze, interior affairs spokesperson for The Green Party in Bavaria.
Schulze has a reason to be worried, as not only is the political sentiment changing, but violence against refugees is now on the rise. Recall only a few days ago when we reported that arson fires have been increasing at refugee shelters, and police have voiced concern over the growing violence.
While the situation in Germany (and other European countries) remains tense as it relates to the immigrant crisis, if Turkey doesn't get everything it wants and more from the EU, the new flood of refugees will escalate the situation to a whole new level.