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25th Jun 2022

Missing guns amid rising far-right hate in EU

  • Around 630,000 weapons were listed as "wanted items" in the EU's police database, Schengen Information System (Photo: Pat WilsonCZ75)
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Some 630,000 weapons are listed as "wanted items" in the EU's police database known as the Schengen Information System.

The figures were cited in an EU internal paper dated 12 May from the French EU presidency.

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"More and more individuals are acquiring and using firearms legally, particularly within violent right-wing extremist movements," it notes.

Right-wing extremists are also preparing for a race conflict, says the paper, with some equipping themselves in anticipation of a future "racial civil war".

This follows the shootings carried out by Norway's mass murderer Anders Breivik in 2011 or Australian terrorist Brenton Tarrant in 2019, the French memo notes.

Violent right-wing extremists also get their weapons from shooting clubs, while others through hunting licences, it says.

Both Tarrant and Breivik, for instance, had joined shooting clubs to legally acquire weapons before they went on their murderous rampages.

The extremist weapon of choice remains the automatic AR-15 rifle.

But others, especially in the EU, also opt for the less expensive semi-automatic rifles of the Kalashnikov-type.

Meanwhile, the paper says the threat from left-wing anarchist violence remains low.

On the other hand, the threat from Islamist militant lone actors remains high, it says.

"Islamist extremist lone actors with no clear affiliation to a specific terrorist group seem to pose the biggest threat, with a sizeable proportion suffering from mental health problems," it states.

A second internal EU paper dated 4 May makes similar assertions.

It says violent right-wing extremists are on the rise in several member states.

Such extremists movements are often "fragmented and leaderless."

The paper further notes that many are composed of smaller groups, which can differ in terms of membership, structures and ideologies.

"An important threat is stemming from followers of accelerationism who aim to create political tension and chaos," says the internal paper.

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