France’s Handgun Woes

As an Arizonan living in France, (in part to escape my beloved state’s gun insanityConcealed weapons? Fine. Permits? Not necessary! Safety training: Not any more! Guns in bars? As many as you like! Automatic weapons? Yes, please! Guns on university campuses? Law already under consideration by moronic State Legislature–I got to wondering: what are the gun laws here ?

After all, you read about shootings so firearms must exist in France. Who has them? How many? And what do they do with them? Le Monde tried to count in 2008, but said the task was “sensible” despite a national data collection file called the AGRIPPA. It’s estimate: 3,000,000. (By contrast 200 MILLION guns are thought to circulate in the USA). Before you rejoice, however, you should know that the Small Arms Survey put the number at 18-20 million.  The explanation: “les armes non soumises à déclaration ne sont pas comptabilisées” (guns not subject to declaration aren’t counted)

32% of French people were said to own guns. That’s less than Arizona (where firearms outnumber people), but still not negligible. That makes France the second most armed country in Europe. (Hurrah?) Legal gun sales are down. But illegal weapons from Eastern Europe are on the rise, especially, and quite uncontrollably, from the Balkans.As for gun deaths in France:

  • 2105 in 2005
  • 2607 in 1999
  • 2713 in 1979

By comparison, firearm deaths in the USA near 40,000 per year, including suicides and children.
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