German officials look to tighten gun laws after shooting spree

A German police officer outside the Olympia mall last Friday.

Senior German officials have called for further controls on the sale of guns after Friday’s deadly shooting in Munich that claimed the lives of nine people and the gunman, a deranged 18-year-old who was obsessed with mass killings.

“We must continue to do all we can to limit and strictly control access to deadly weapons,” German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the centre-left Social Democrats said. He added that authorities were investigating how Ali Sonboly, the German-Iranian dual national, had gained access to a weapon despite signs that he had significant psychological issues.

The 18-year-old loner opened fire near a busy shopping centre, killing nine and wounding 27 more, before turning the gun on himself as police approached.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats said he planned to review German gun laws after the attack, and seek improvements where needed.

De Maiziere said German gun laws were already very strict, which he considered appropriate, and it was critical to understand how the shooter gained access to the pistol used.

Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to reassure Germans that the state will keep them safe as she pledged all resources to get to the bottom of the rampage.

Speaking after an emergency meeting of her security cabinet, Ms Merkel said that “we are all grieving” after the “night of horror” in the Bavarian capital.

The lone killer is thought to have attempted to lure victims to a McDonald’s opposite the shopping centre with a fake Facebook profile promising free food.

Officials said Sonboly used a 9mm pistol and had 300 rounds of ammunition in his rucksack when he went on what they called a “classic shooting rampage”.

Police said the weapon was a Glock 17 handgun which had had its serial number illegally filed off, and there were indications the gunman had been in psychiatric care and treated for depression.

They confirmed his room in the flat he was living in had been searched, and that documents of “frenzied attacks” had been discovered, but no evidence he had links to Islamic State.

According to reports the killer had an “obvious” link to Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik — who, five years to the day of the Munich attack, slaughtered 77 people.

Police investigator Robert Heimberger said that it appeared the gunman had hacked a Facebook account and lured people to the shopping centre with an offer of free food.

Officials said the attacker was not known to them.

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