Germany intends to strengthen its gun rules in the aftermath of a suspected conspiracy by a far-right organization to violently topple the government and install a minor royal as national leader, according to the country’s interior minister in an interview published on Sunday.
Last week, German police detained 25 people accused of being involved in the conspiracy, which has startled many in one of Europe’s most stable democracies. According to prosecutors, several of the accused were members of the far-right “Reichsbuerger” (Reichsbürger) movement, which opposes the existence of the current German state.
In an interview with the newspaper “Bild am Sonntag,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned that the Reichsbuerger posed a growing threat to Germany, having grown from 2,000 to 23,000 persons in the previous year.
“These are not harmless insane individuals, but suspected terrorists in pre-trial incarceration,” Faeser was reported as adding.
Prosecutors claimed the suspects included those who had guns and knew how to use them. They had sought to recruit current and former army troops and had amassed a large arsenal of weaponry.
“We need all authorities to apply maximum pressure” on them to surrender their guns, according to Faeser, which is why the government will “shortly tighten gun legislation.”
Authorities had previously collected guns from over 1,000 Reichsbuerger members prior to the raids. However, at least another 500 people are thought to have gun licenses in a nation where private ownership of guns is uncommon.