The German government has been struggling to contain a rise in violence and social anxiety that rocked Europe's wealthiest nation since Europe's refugee crisis started just over three years ago, when Chancellor Angela Merkel first announced her "open doors" policy in response to a wave of refugees fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and North Africa. The result: German citizens are now rushing to obtain basic firearms licenses.
According to a report from Deutsche Welle, rising perceptions of "insecurity" were cited as a driving factor in the increase of issued firearms licenses. Some have suggested that the trend could trigger situations similar to the US, where gun violence has become a major social problem.
German authorities issued more than 600,000 weapons licenses, representing an increase of 130% since 2014, according to the latest figures published by Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND). For perspective, there were only 261,332 licenses in 2014.
Separately, German authorities have been struggling to deport criminal migrants. One troubling example was recently highlighted by Germany's Bild newspaper: one illegal migrant who arrived in Germany more than 20 years ago had managed to avoid deportation despite being accused of 542 criminal acts. The reason? German authorities can't figure out which country to deport him to. Meanwhile, during this bureaucratic fiasco, the migrant was allowed to roam free.
Despite the migrant chaos, some German officials are even more worried that more weapons in citizens' hands could transform the country into a hellhole of death and destruction.
"We must be careful not to get American conditions in Germany," said Jörg Radek, deputy chairman of police union GdP, referring to widespread gun violence in the US. "There is a danger that weapons will not be used properly and that their owners will endanger themselves."
And so, 3 years after what arguably was the biggest mistake made by a German political leader in almost a century, the country is sinking ever faster into a social, economic and demographic bog. The failed immigration policies by Merkel have triggered one of the largest moves by the country's civilian population to acquire guns. And it's not just Germany: a quick look at the old continent's other nations shows that a storm is coming to Europe, and 2019 is shaping up as the trigger year.