• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Boom in demand for self-defence weapons
Photo: LPD Wien

Boom in demand for self-defence weapons

The Local · 13 Jan 2016, 10:16

Published: 13 Jan 2016 10:16 GMT+01:00

Up until September 2015 an average of 100 weapons permits were issued a month in Vienna. Police records show that this doubled in October, and quadrupled in November to 457.

"It’s clear that people’s general sense of unease has increased," Robert Siegert, industry spokesman for the arms trade in the Chamber of Commerce told broadcaster ORF.

He added that exact figures were not available but that larger weapons shops said sales had risen sharply for self-defence weapons - particularly pepper spray, blank-firing guns and tasers.

Police records show that reported cases of sexual assaults in Vienna have also increased in recent months. However, criminal sociologist Reinhard Kreissl says that Vienna is still generally a very safe city with a low crime rate, and warns that statistics from the USA show that as more people buy weapons for self-defence, the number of armed robberies and attacks increase.

In Styria, the number of weapons permits issued has also risen rapidly since the start of the refugee crisis last summer. Styria borders Slovenia, and the south-eastern state has seen thousands of refugees crossing its border on a daily basis.

In the capital, Graz, the number of weapons permits doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year. In Leibnitz and Südoststeiermark - the districts directly on the Slovenian border - the number of applications for weapons permits quadrupled in 2015.

“Especially in the last four months of 2015 we saw a massive increase in demand for weapons. Most people said they wanted a weapon because they didn’t feel safe,” Herbert Fuik from Styrian police confirmed.

A weapons permit entitles the holder to purchase and own a weapon, but not to carry it or fire it outside their home. Licenses that do allow the bearer to carry it in public are subject to much stricter regulations.

Police have warned people against buying weapons for self-defence and have said they will be be reinforcing patrols where necessary.

Rape alarms 'better choice'

Meanwhile the demand for replica guns, tasers and pepper spray has also risen markedly in the wake of the widely reported sexual assaults and robberies in Germany and Austria on New Year’s Eve.

Story continues below…

Franz Dorfner, who runs a gun shop in Vienna’s Favoriten district, told the Kurier newspaper he has sold out of pepper spray and is waiting for a delivery so he can restock. Constanze Dorn, who runs a hunting shop in Salzburg, says she has also sold out of pepper spray and has had to order several hundred more cans.

However, security experts have warned that pepper spray and stun guns are not the most effective method of self-defence. “They can also be used against the victim,” Angelika Breser from Vienna’s 24-hour Women’s Helpline (Frauennotruf) said.

She recommends carrying a pocket rape alarm, which is only around the size of a walnut and costs about €10. When activated it emits a piercing, 130 decibel alarm. "The noise attracts the attention of witnesses and should scare off an attacker,” Breser said. "Of course it’s not guaranteed to protect you, but it's important to have something that makes you feel safer.”

Salzburg’s Women’s Helpline said it is also recommending that women carry rape alarms, after receiving an increase of calls after a number of women complained that they were assaulted in the city on New Year’s Eve. "There’s definitely a feeling of fear and insecurity  - and so for the time being we are running a 24 hour hotline,” director Andrea Laher said.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Dominatrix in court after deadly sex game claims a life
Image: Mulher Gotica 2/Wikimedia

A prostitute is on trial accused of causing intentional serious bodily harm resulting in death, after a 45-year-old client of hers was found hanging in a hotel room.

Suspicious wife travelled to Graz with husband's entrails
The customs officers weren't expecting to find entrails. Photo: Europol

Customs officers at an Austrian airport were taken aback to find human entrails in the bag of a Moroccan traveller, who said they belonged to her dead husband.

Merkel wants to send back dud migrants
Photo: FNDE/Wikimedia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under fire at home over her refugees policy, called Saturday for Europe to secure deals with third countries to send back migrants who do not qualify for asylum.

Police officer run over by prisoner on day release
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

A police officer in Vienna is in a critical condition after being knocked down by a prisoner on day release who was riding a Yamaha motorbike at full speed.

Jealousy drives man to blow up ex-girlfriend with hand grenade
Prnjavor in northern Bosnia. Photo: Cuman/Wikipedia

A Bosnian man living in Austria travelled back to his homeland to blow up his ex-girlfriend with a hand grenade when he found out she was seeing somebody else.

Teenager dies in horror crash on Austria's Westautobahn
File photo: Jacktd/Wikimedia

One person has died and seven others are seriously injured after a horrific road accident on the Westautobahn (A1) in Lower Austria.

Taiwanese tourist rescued from Austrian mountain via WhatsApp
Dachstein. Photo: Wikipedia

A tourist from Taiwan who got lost on Austria’s Dachstein mountain was rescued after sending a friend in Hong Kong images via WhatsApp.

Man jailed for making hundreds of sex calls to teachers
Wels court. Photo: Austrian Justice Ministry

A 59-year-old man from Upper Austria has received a 15-month conditional prison sentence after he phoned hundreds of young female teachers and sexually harassed them.

Comedian sets sights on Austrian parliament
Roland Düringer. Photo: ORF

An Austrian comedian, Roland Düringer, has founded a new political party and says he plans to introduce it in time for Austria’s next parliamentary election.

Austrian election set for early December after 'gluegate'
Austrian parliament building. Photo: Wikimedia

Austria's parliament has approved December 4th as the new date for the presidential election re-run in a scandal-ridden race.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Those surprising Austrians!
National
100 years since the last emperor's death
National
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Lifestyle
Have fun in September!
National
Der you learn Deutsch?
Culture
Delighted by the light
National
Beware these passport scams
National
Of course we skipped Oarsch
National
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
Yodel-ei-ei-eee--oh
Lifestyle
10 years after her escape from captivity
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
2,484
jobs available