Bavarian official says military aid needed in time of crisis

MUNICH (AP) — Bavaria’s top security official on Sunday urged a constitutional change to allow the country’s military to be able to be deployed in support of police during attacks like Friday night’s deadly rampage at a Munich mall, while Germany’s vice chancellor proposed even stricter controls on firearms.

Because of the excesses of the Nazi era, Germany’s post-war constitution only allows the military, known as the Bundeswehr, to be deployed domestically in cases of national emergency.

But state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the regulations are now obsolete and that Germans have a “right to safety.”

“We have an absolutely stable democracy in our country,” he said. “It would be completely incomprehensible … if we had a terrorist situation like Brussels in Frankfurt, Stuttgart or Munich and we were not permitted to call in the well-trained forces of the Bundeswehr, even though they stand ready.”

Munich deployed some 2,300 police officers to lock down the city Friday night, calling in elite SWAT teams from around the country and neighboring Austria, after an 18-year-old went on a shooting rampage at a mall with a pistol, killing nine and wounding dozens of others before taking his own life.

It was the second attack targeting victims apparently at random in less than a week in Bavaria. On Monday, a 17-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker wounded five people in an ax-and-knife rampage near Wuerzburg, for which the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.

In the fog of the Friday attack, witnesses had reported as many as three shooters and the city’s public transit was completely shut down for hours as authorities searched the streets.

Herrmann said that in other European nations it goes without saying that the military is brought in to aid during “extreme domestic threats” and he said Bavaria would urge changes so that it is allowed in Germany as well.

Weapons are strictly controlled in Germany and police are still trying to determine how the shooter, a German-born man identified only as David S. whose parents are Iranian immigrants, obtained the Glock 17 used in the attack.

Its serial numbers were filed off and he had no permit to purchase weapons, authorities have said.

Even though it was an illegal weapon, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel suggested Sunday that even stricter controls were needed, telling the Funke Media Group that “we need to do everything further possible to curb the access to deadly weapons and strictly control them.”

“How can it be that an unstable, or possibly even mentally ill 18-year-old comes into possession of a firearm?” he asked.

Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, said, however, that Germany’s weapons regulations were already “very strict” and appropriate.

He said authorities first need to determine where the shooter got the weapon from.

“We’ll then have to look very carefully at whether there then needs to be a possibility for additional legal action,” he said.


Rising reported from Berlin.

comments powered by Disqus