Det. Captain Franz Plueckthun, commander of Undercover Operations of the Bavarian State Police, and Michael Tentler, consultant for the German BKA (FBI), will lead the discussion, according to a press release from the university.First thought "Oh yeah, this is going to be balanced". I got there early to set up and one of the organizers stated "I was wondering if one of you would show up". I was wearing my NRA hat, hence the comment. By the time the forum started, it was about half pro-gun activists and half students (who were required to be there).
In addition, Hafeez Muhammad, long-time resident and community activist of Chicago, will address the problem of gun shootings in Chicago.
The moderator was Prof. Kevin Anderson of the PoliSci dept.
Det. Captain Franz Plueckthun spoke first. He stated that the post war laws barring civilian firearm ownership were established by the occupying US forces and had been tightened even more since then. German citizens know little about firearms except from TV. It's not part of their culture. Munich, where he's from, had zero murders last year and he says the lack of firearms are a big part of it.
Michael Tentler was next. He covered German requirements to get a firearm. You need a state approved reason and there are multiple examinations involved. (Mostly only hardcore collectors or hunters even try to obtain the license. From what I understand, it can take several years. -ed) He stated that gay marriage is a right in Germany like firearm ownership is here and that one doesn't always need to choose to use a right. Guns make it easier to kill your wife.
Mr Hafeez Muhammed was the surprise of the evening. While he did start out talking about 'gun culture' and violence, using stories of him playing w/ cap guns in the '60's and many of those today are now using real guns, he specifically stated numerous times he was not there to attack the NRA or any gun owners and that the solution is to break the violence through education and economic reform since the majority (he said 75%) of crime is committed by and against gang bangers over drugs.
They did balance out the forum by having a very pro-gun officer from the Charleston PD (Lt Brad Oyer) present. He's a lifelong firearm owner, hunter, sportsman and NRA member. In Coles cnty there are more guns than people and a low crime rate.We have the right to KABA but need to be responsible and accountable.
Then the questions.
First off was what you'ld expect. A pure Godwin. I'm not going to even give it any more time.
Next up was Don Huskey who runs local gun shows and firearm training. He stated back in '79 he was stopped by German police armed w/ sub-machine guns. The response was that there was a terrorist threat/scare at the time.
Most of the questions were actually statements and along those lines. The students started getting frustrated by it.
One good question was what, if anything did the German police take from the US. They stated the 'broken window' theory from NYC. When asked to explain, it was the theory that a single broken down house can lead to neighborhood deterioration and the mindset that goes w/ it.
Other good ones were on the legalization of the drug trade, how to get jobs that pay more than drug dealing and whether the more homogenous nature of Germany is partly responsible for lower crime. The answer to the last one was that Germany is not homogenous, that there are many Turks and E. Europeans in the country and there is issues w/ integration. (I remember my great aunt talking about having issues w/ the Turkish immigrants decades ago).
A student brought out the meme that all guns started out legally and that we seemed to be blaming black people. The black students here are more afraid of the locals than we are of them. Why do we 'need' guns to protect ourselves.
Then came the boom. Took awhile for the moderators to get control. An older resident stated that he has watched Chicago gangs try and get holds here. Chicago based students (who think of anything south of I-80 as 'Southern Illinois, I did for awhile) did not like that.
A point that one of the German officers made was the cultural differences. In Germany, residents expect the gov't to take care of them.
Overall the forum was much better balanced than I anticipated. One of the German officers, however, was convinced you could go into a Wal-mart and buy an M-16 no questions asked, a belief apparently encouraged by German media. I will add video to this later.