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Mass Shootings with Guns: The German Experience

Mass Shootings with Guns: The German Experience

On the evening of March 9, 2023, Philipp Fusz entered a worship service at a Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Hamburg, Germany, killing seven people, including a 7-month unborn baby, and wounded eight more.[i]

He fired 135 rounds, including the one the coward used to kill himself long before police arrived.

His mass killing sparked the predictable call for banning guns, but also ignited a passion to understand if “gun control” laws delivered on the promises politicians use to sell gun bans to an outraged public.

German writer Katja Triebel, in her blog “Liberal Issues with a Focus on Gun Laws,”[ii] asked a series of questions, then dove deep into the research, scientific data, historical case studies, and expert opinions to answer them.

Research from Germany and many other countries challenge the presumption that stricter “gun control” laws reduce violence. Statistics and scientific studies repeatedly show that gun bans have no impact on violent crime.

That’s precisely the issue here in Canada. Despite banning wide swaths of guns from lawful ownership, criminals access a nearly bottomless supply of illegal guns, primarily smuggled into the country from the United States.

Politicians like Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government ministers insist confiscating guns from licensed owners will stop violent, repeat offenders from committing their crimes.

That’s nonsense.

“Law-abiding citizens who possess firearms legally,” writes Katja Triebel, “are not typically driven to commit acts of violence simply because they own a weapon. In contrast, those with criminal intent or histories of violent behavior are less deterred by bans, as they often obtain their weapons through illegal means or substitute other tools, such as knives, explosives, or combustible materials, to carry out their crimes.”

The Hamburg shooting shows that no matter how strict gun laws are, a determined individual can circumvent restrictions and acquire a firearm.

Philipp Fusz legally owned the gun he used in his murderous rampage.

Like Canada, automatic firearms are prohibited. Hunting rifles, shotguns, handguns and semi-automatic firearms are permitted after a strict licensing system.

Police interviewed Fusz after they received an anonymous letter stating that Fusz was angry with “religious members or against the Jehovah’s Witnesses and his former employer.”

That led to an unannounced visit to Fusz’s apartment on February 7, 2023, but after police interviewed him, they deemed him “to be cooperative and convinced officers that there was no cause for concern.”[iii]


Anders Behring Breivik, the mass murderer who killed 8 people and wounded another 209 in a bomb attack, then murdered 69 people and injured 32 more hours later at a summer camp in Norway in 2011. Breivik meticulously planned his attack for over a decade.


The Canadian experience is similar.

Marc Lepine, born as Gamil Gharbi, legally owned the rifle that he used to murder 14 women and injure 14 more and finally kill himself at L’Ecole Polytechnique in 1989. He meticulously planned the murders and followed all existing laws to legally acquire the guns he used.

There are a few other examples, but Lepine/Gharbi’s atrocity was the primary catalyst for Canada’s descent into the current morass of gun laws and regulations that ignore violent repeat offenders and focus almost exclusively on licensed firearms owners.

The Solution?

Stricter laws are not the solution, at least not the primary solution. While regulations surrounding lawful ownership of firearms is deemed “essential” in Canada, if only politically, those restrictions must be part of a much larger and broader strategy that fundamentally addresses the root causes of violence, including effective mental health supports.

One common thread among mass killers is they exhibit signs of severe psychological distress or mental illness. Those signs are often ignored by authorities until it’s too late, despite the desperate pleas of family and friends to get help for the individual.

Canada strictly regulates individuals who choose to own firearms legally, but our legal system all but ignores violent, repeat offenders.

The statistics on Firearms Prohibition Order violators[iv] is horrific, yet no government, especially Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, appears willing to address the glaring holes that allow these offenders to be released without any follow-up to ensure that they obey their prohibition orders.

So long as Canada’s focus remains on licensed firearms owners, not violent repeat offenders, the shootings in our cities will continue unabated.

This requires, at a minimum, a change in government, and then a concerted effort by all of us to hold that new government to account.



[ii] ibid



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