As L-188 said, most illegal guns here in central Europe (and with this I mean 95% and up) stem either from previous European civil war zone like Yugoslavia or Albania or from the collapse of the former Communist governments.
In the GDR, each town hall had an armoury for the local Stasi (internal intelligence service) officers, including AK
-47s and RPG-7s. Many party officials above a certain level were allowed to own side arms.
In bigger cities you had armouries of the worker´s militia, a paramilitary organisation trained to do rear area security during war. Under the East German government these armouries were heaviliy guarded, but when the wall fell, many of the stasi guards deserted their posts, leaving the armouries unguarded.
Since the locations were often only known to insiders, the new government didn´t know that they existed, so they couldn´t place new guards for several weeks, until they found out about them. In several cases the authorities only noticed the existense of these armouries after teenagers broke into the deserted buildings and stole aussault weapons and rocket propelled grenades.
A few years ago in Albania, the government collapsed after a lottery scandal, which cost millions of their population all their savings. During riots which followed for several weeks, military armouries were looted, often with the help of the Albanian mafia, which got a strong foothold in western Europe by now, second only to the Russian one.
If you buy a black market AK
or a Makarov pistol inGermany, chances are great that it will be an Albanian one. Another source are weapons smuggled over the western Europe by veterans from the various factions of the Yugoslav civil wars in the 1980s-90s.
These are the majority of waeapons used in crime, mostly directly connected to the different mafia organisations. Though it became a status symbol for e.g. pimps to own an AK
, instead of their pit bull terriers, the run of the mill burlar usually doesn´t carry a gun.
Then there are still WW2 and WW1 weapons hidden away, but people, who e.g. might find them during renovation of an a old building just keep them secret. hese guns will probably never be used in a crime (except for their existence as illegal guns, under German law, there is no provision for somebody who finds an old gun and wants to keep to get it legalised. He´ll have to hand it over to the police and this is the last he will ever see of it, even if it got high historical significance).
Despite complaints from the conservative side (who want to have all laws made stricter), the level of violent crime is quite low over here. I personally feel quite safe walking out at night time without carrying a weapon. The only time I ever carried one (in this case a knife) was when I was personally stalked by the ex husband of my former wife, who had a history of violence (he later got sentenced for aggrevated assault and did time). After he got arrested, I left the knife at home.
I think a culture of violence has more to do with education and movies. Look at how many ghetto kids think that you´ll have to hold a handgun sideways to shoot, because it looks cool. It is a matter of imitating false idols.
L-188 is also right, violence on TV
or video games is much stricter censored over here than in the US. When I was visiting the homes of American friends in Berlin (soldiers of the now disbanded US Army Berlin Brigade), I was always surprised at what movies they would let their 5-7 year old kids watch, full of blood and gore, while, as soon as a couple would kiss on the screen, the kids were sent out of the room.
Yesterday night I stumbled into a program on German ARD TV
(Panorama), where they showed some real nasty amateur movies made by American GIs in Iraq (I don´t want to start a new American bashing Iraq thread, please, so keep it low), what I noticed was how young those kids were (IMO some didn´t even need to shave yet, but I´ve got the same opinion about the Bundeswehr soldiers I see in the street outside my home, there is a big barracks about a block down my street) and how they treated the situations as if they were out of a video game. If the same type of youngsters is out on American streets with guns, I´m not surprised about a high rate of dead.