Europeans are increasingly turning to guns to protect themselves against terrorism and crime. Women and men alike are becoming gun owners as a way to boost their method of self-defense against violent attackers.
Nine days after the attack in the Christmas market in the French city of Strasbourg last December in which an Islamic terrorist killed five and wounded 11, a Washington think tankreported that similar attacks were likely to continue. The terrorist, Cherif Chekatt (who was killed in a subsequent shootout with police), had previously pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, declared that European citizens would face a continuing “significant threat” of similar attacks: “The threat of attacks from groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda to … the United Kingdom and France is at one of the highest levels [since the 9/11 attacks],” adding that the number of such attacks — foiled, failed and successful — surged more than 700 percent between 2007 and 2017.-New American
This has put the everyday Europeans at the highest risk of becoming a victim to a violent crime. And those very people are figuring out that having a gun as a tool for self-defense will increase their chances of surviving an attack on their person or property. In spite of all the laws regulating guns in Europe, including strict gun laws often requiring a year of supervised training as well as psychological testing, there’s a growing sense that local police can’t protect the people from violent attacks. Many are turning to themselves for safety and the ownership and use of personal firearms is growing rapidly across Europe.
“Legal” gun owners have a much more difficult time acquiring a gun for protection than a criminal does for a violent attack. But that doesn’t seem to be stopping those who need the insurance of self-preservation. Self-defense is, after all, a basic human right.
But many aren’t going about getting guns legally because it’s just too difficult, if not impossible. So as the demand for gun ownership has grown, so has the supply, mostly through the “Deep Web,” also known as the “dark web,” the “invisible web,” or the “hidden web,” writes The New American. This is the part of the Internet that is off-limits to traditional search engines; where illicit trading takes place at such locations as the infamous drug bazaar Silk Road. According to the Rand Corporation, “Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.” America’s gun industry generates in excess of $15 billion in annual sales, while the dark web is responsible for upwards of $75 billion in firearms sales annually in Europe, as citizens increasingly look to themselves for their personal safety. And they are defying government laws to do it.
The flood of illegal (non-government-approved) firearms is exploding. The Small Arms Survey estimates that there are nearly a billion firearms held in private hands, with almost 100 million of them in Europe.
This is far from a new trend. In August of 2016, Reuters pointed out that Europeans are increasingly taking control of their own safety and choosing to own guns a means of self-defense.