Daniel Wyss, president of the Swiss weapons dealers association, holds a Beretta gun in his Wyss Waffen gun shop in the town of Burgdorf, Switzerland August 10, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
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Europeans in a number of countries are seeking to arm themselves with guns and self-defense devices in growing numbers following a series of attacks by militants and the mentally ill.Nevertheless, applications for gun permits are climbing in Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic. Their larger neighbor Germany has not followed the trend in lethal firearms, but permits for carrying devices designed to scare off assailants, such as blank guns and those that fire pepper spray, have risen almost 50 percent.Like Kruesi, authorities in Europe – where levels of gun ownership are comparatively low and controls are often tight – have avoided encouraging their citizens to buy weapons.Of the country's 26 cantons, the 12 that responded to a Reuters inquiry all reported higher 2015 applications for permits entitling people to buy guns.Jean-Luc Addor, a parliamentarian and member of the Swiss gun lobby, aims to introduce legislation in September to ease the restrictions.German permits for firearms possession have fallen marginally in the past year, while those for scare devices jumped 49 percent in the year to June to 402,301 .Gun ownership remains low in Europe.Consequently, it is unlikely that legal French gun ownership has changed much since 2015, said Thierry Coste, secretary-general of the Comite Guillaume Tell (William Tell) lobby group.
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