The federal police seized 5,850 illegal firearms last year in Belgium, L'Echo and De Tijd reported on Friday. The figure was only 3,745 in 2017 and less than 3,000 in 2015.
Among the arms discovered by police in 2018, long-barrelled weapons (3,947), handguns (927) and revolvers (525) were the main hauls, but there were also 90 automatic weapons, 56 machine pistols and 34 machine guns found.
The police say the number of weapons in circulation is increasing above all in the drugs world, even if other areas of crime are also involved. For a search to take place, the police must anticipate arms being found. That was not the case ten years ago.
"The unlawful possession and trafficking of firearms are a priority in the 2016-2019 national security plan," the justice minister Koen Geens (CD&V) emphasised in a parliamentary response to senator Lionel Bajart (Open Vld).
The Brussels Times