According to this story from FoxNews.com, Austria is experiencing a spike in arms sales because of growing tensions over the influx of refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East, African, and Asia. According to this story from the Daily Mail, about 70,000 more firearms have been sold in Austria so far this year compared to the same period last year. With a population of 8.5 million, an estimated 900,000 firearms are in Austrian homes, making it one of the most heavily armed nations in Europe.
“Nearly all shotguns are sold out because you don’t need to have a firearms permit to buy them,” Thomas Ortner, spokesperson for gun retailers in the state of Upper Austria told OE24. “Registration courses for pistols are usually held only ever five weeks, but are now held weekly.”
According to the story, Czech Independent TV reported that, as of Monday, most rifles in Austria are sold out.
Any Austrian age 18 and over can buy and own a shotgun or certain types of rifles, which have to be registered at a licensed dealer or gunsmith. Ownership of semiautomatic firearms requires a special permit, like a hunting license.
This is in contrast to most other European countries like Germany, Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands, where it is practically impossible to own a gun or purchase ammunition.
“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,” Alan Gottlieb, executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, said in the ChristianToday story. “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.”
The most common reason given by Austrians for buying a gun were fear of refugees and fear of burglaries that may come with them.