The number of Bavarians with the license to hold a small non-lethal firearm dramatically increased during 2015, when 5,748 of the licenses were issued, more than double the 2,379 that were issued during 2014, German newspaper Focus reported on Tuesday.
Germany has strict gun-control laws, but these licenses allow holders to carry non-lethal self-defense weapons such as gas pistols, flare guns, electroshock weapons and animal repellants, pepper spray and other sprayed deterrents.
The figures for the previous two years have already been exceeded so far this year; in February alone 7,435 licenses to hold a small firearm were issued, and 4,677 were issued in March.
The numbers were released by the state Interior Ministry following a parliamentary question from the Green party.
“The explosion in small firearms permits is very worrying,” said Katharina Schulze, spokeswoman for the Greens in the Bavarian parliament.
“We don’t need any arming of the population in Bavaria. Individuals arming themselves and vigilantism are not our values.”
“The danger is that more conflicts will escalate if more people are armed,” she said, and reiterated that public safety is the responsibility of the police authorities, not members of the public.