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Speculation about the origin of the Paris Attack AKs

Deutsche Welle, a German based news service, recently ran an interesting article about the possible provenance of the AKs used in the Paris attacks. This is interesting not just from an investigative and evidentiary perspective in the European Union, but also when you consider the predicted upsurge in exploitatory, post-San BernI wirdino chatter about additional gun control measures in the US. California already has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country. The obvious debate is, would additional laws keep weapons out of the hands of people who have no regard for the law in the first place? Would they, say, have any impact at all on the sort of people who would drop off their 6 month old child at grandma's house to go kill a bunch of people? Unfortunately that debate is once again raging most hotly in the ranks of the uninformed, the credulous and those with a predilection for partisan based incorrigibility.

Let me just quote the third sentence in DW's article:

“Experts say the Kalashnikovs could have been bought anywhere on Europe's black market.”

I will quote another article, this one from the Guardian. It reflects conversations with the French National Observatory for Delinquency and police and security personnel from that country. France has very strict gun control laws, and has for some time. Their borders are admittedly more porous than those of the United States, but as anyone who has actually walked the fence between the US and Mexico knows, not by much.

“The eight attackers who terrorised Paris on Friday night, and the Charlie Hebdo killers in January all gunned down their victims with similar rifles, probably smuggled from eastern Europe.”

It seems like there should be an obvious conclusion to be drawn there, but that's none of my business.


Some more from the DW piece:

Little to go on

Though there has been a lot of speculation about the origins of the guns used in Paris, little is known. Media reports of the November 13 killings have usually referred to “Kalashnikovs” – a gun which comes in nearly 200 varieties and is manufactured in at least 30 different countries…

…Though the Balkans are usually cited as the main source of automatic rifles in Europe (left over from the war in Kosovo and the collapse of the Albanian government in the 1990s), Florquin said, there has been a rising trade in replica or antique guns that have been refitted to shoot again. “We know that one of the weapons used in January in the kosher market attacks [in Paris] was not from the Balkans, but was purchased deactivated in Slovakia and then reactivated,” he told DW.

No need for the dark net

Wim Zwijnenburg, policy advisor for disarmament and security at PAX, an NGO based in the Netherlands, said the Paris attackers could have gotten their guns from any number of sources. “The background for most of these weapons is the Balkans, former Yugoslavia, or newer weapons from the Czech Republic, Moldova or Ukraine,” he told DW. “It's really easy to put things in your trunk and just drive across the border.” In addition to the connection to Eastern Europe, Zwijnenburg says there is evidence that guns that were sold legally to the Iraqi government have started to make their way back to Europe illegally.

In the case of the Paris attacks, it is perfectly possible that one of the gun-trading middlemen may have been German, Zwijnenburg added. Guns certainly are bought and sold in Germany: “One story I've heard from a person I trust: He wanted to buy a handgun, and he met the seller in Germany, and he opened his trunk and there were AK-47s being sold for between 400 and 600 euros ($425-640). But I don't know if the dealer himself was German.”

Ultimately, Zwijnenburg said, the black market for weapons is controlled by organized criminal gangs, and there is no shortage of these throughout Europe. “I don't think there are certain nationalities who are less likely to do it than others,” he said.

If you want to read the rest of the article in its entirety, you can do so right here.

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