Vlaams Vredesinstituut, the Flemish Parliament’s opinion poll and research organisation, has said there are currently 781,419 guns registered in Belgium. “That’s more than in 2006, when the laws on guns became tighter and owners of illegal weapons were free to hand them in with no fear of penalties”, researcher Nils Duquet told the Het Belang van Limburg.
After the new gun laws came into effect, the number of registered weapons dropped from 778,585 in 2006 to 707,869 in 2010. However, researchers have noticed a 10% increase every year, to the point where there are more now than in 2006. “We don’t really have an explanation for this increase, other than that shooting sports have become more popular”, says Mr Duquet.
Mr Duquet says all the figures should be taken into account. Even though the number of guns has gone up, “back in the 80s, 16% of Belgian families owned a gun. Today, only 5% do”.
There may be 800,000 registered weapons, but the Institute says there are another 100,000 in circulation. Another amnesty period is currently underway, which will last until the end of the year.
The Brussels Times