As The New American has reported in multiple articles, European nations are frantically trying to accommodate the thousands of immigrants fleeing to Europe from the ongoing civil war in Syria. This massive influx, which has been described as an “invasion,” has prompted many Europeans to arm themselves, fearful that the migrants will cause a rise in violent crime, according to a report published by WorldNetDaily (WND) on October 26.
However, notes the report, citing Czech and Austrian sources, obtaining a firearm in Europe can be difficult to nearly impossible, depending on gun laws in each individual country. A Czech television reporter spoke mostly about the situation in neighboring Austria, which is in the main path of migrants traveling from Greece to their most popular destination — Germany.
The Czech reporter stated that long guns such as shotguns and rifles have been selling out in Austria, and those who haven’t already purchased one may not have an opportunity to obtain one for some time. “If anyone wants to buy a long gun in Austria right now, too bad for them,” noted the Czech newscaster. “All of them are currently sold out.”
The reporter, who cited Tiroler Tageszeitung — a newspaper published in Innsbruck, Austria, as his source, also noted that most of those buying firearms in Austria are women.
The Austrian newspaper quoted Stephen Mayer, a gun merchant, who was optimistic about the strong sales: “We cannot complain about lack of demand,” he asserted. Mayer said his stock has been sold out for the last three weeks and expressed his belief that the demand is being fueled by fears generated by social changes related to the massive influx of migrants from the Middle East.
Mayer said many women are buying pepper sprays, which are a popular alternative among those who can’t acquire a gun.
WND also quoted Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, who told the web publication that he recently attended a gun rights event in Europe, where he detected a change in attitude toward firearms. He explained:
I just returned from a gun rights meeting in Belgium, and I can attest that all over Europe people now want the means to defend themselves. Self-defense is no longer a dirty word. In countries like Austria, where it is still legal to own a firearm, gun sales are at record levels. I can tell you first-hand that people in Europe now wish they had a Second Amendment.
Back in September, at an emergency EU summit held in Brussels, heads of government from the European Union approved a plan to distribute 120,000 migrants fleeing turmoil in the Middle East across Europe. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had asked EU members to accept 160,000 migrants. Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia voted against the measure. Those nations are directly along the major route used by migrants entering Europe through Turkey and destined for Germany and other Western European nations.
Just two days before Juncker asked the EU to accept the large number of migrants, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban criticized efforts by EU leaders to impose immigration quotas before the continent’s borders are made secure. Orban stated:
As long as we can’t defend Europe’s outer borders, it is not worth talking about how many people we can take in.... The quota system wants to treat the effects before it treats the causes of immigration. The main reason for this is because [the EU] cannot control its outer borders.
In response to the massive flow of migrants, Hungary built a 110-mile-long fence along its border with Serbia.
Germany has taken in more than half a million of these refugees from the Middle East, but finally reached it limits and blocked train traffic from Salzburg, Austria, to stem the tide. Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière announced the change in policy on September 13.
While Orban blamed the massive refugee flow on the EU’s inability to control its borders, which is most certainly a factor, former U.S. Representative (R-Texas) and presidential candidate Ron Paul went to the original source of the crisis in an article reposted by The New American on September 6, noting that “there is very little attention given to the events that led [the refugees] to leave their countries.” Paul stated, in part:
The reason so many are fleeing places like Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq is that US and European interventionist foreign policy has left these countries destabilized with no hopes of economic recovery. This mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing “democracy” at the barrel of a gun.
Going back to the fears generated among Europeans by the large numbers of refugees from the Middle East, it appears that such fears are well grounded. The U.K.’s Daily Mail reported last May: “Islamic State terrorists who are hell-bent on committing atrocities in Britain are being smuggled into Europe by posing as refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean.”
The Daily Mail cited as its source a Libyan security advisor, Abdul Basit Haroun, who used to live in Britain. Haroun said during a BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates program:
[Terrorists] use the boats for their people who they want to send to Europe as the European police don’t know who is from IS and who is a normal refugee. The boat owners have a list of who to take but some people come suddenly and they’re told, “Take them with you.”…
They are for IS — 100 per cent.
A Reuters report in September quoted a statement from Gyorgy Bakondi, a security advisor to Hungary’s Prime Minister Orban, as saying that 20 Hungarian police officers had been at the Roszke-Horgos border crossing with Serbia as 1,500 migrants attempted to break through the country’s border fence. “Police also captured an identified terrorist,” said Bakondi.
Whether the hundreds of thousands of migrants include among their numbers terrorists — or simply garden variety criminals — Europeans who fear their presence in their midst certainly wish they had something akin to the Second Amendment, which safeguards Americans’ right to keep and bear arms. Gun laws vary across Europe, with some nations such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom having strict gun regulations, and others such as the Czech Republic and Serbia allowing for greater access to arms.