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Germany lawmakers drop paintball ban proposed after school shooting

[JURIST] German Social Democratic Party (SPD) [party website, in German] lawmakers said Thursday that they will not support a recently proposed bill that would ban paintball in response to a March school shooting that left 16 dead [BBC report], including the 17-year-old gunman. The move came just two days after they had agreed on the proposal along with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) [party website, in German]. Instead, lawmakers may conduct an inquiry into changing age requirements [AFP report] or placing other restrictions on the activity. Current German law requires that participants be at least 18 years of age. Supporters of the ban have argued that paintball promotes gun violence [DW report] by simulating killing, while opponents have argued that it is just a sport. Lawmakers plan to continue working on other measures [Local report] designed to strengthen gun control.

Less than a week after the March shooting, German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official profile] said in a radio interview [transcript, in German] that the German government must more strictly enforce its gun-control laws [JURIST report]. Under German law, stored guns must be locked [DW report] in safes. Merkel asked parents and educators to be vigilant in keeping guns out of children's hands and mentioned the possibility of random checks to make sure weapons are properly stored. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble [BBC profile] said last week that tightening Germany's gun-control laws would not eliminate youth gun violence [Reuters report]. Schaeuble called Germany's gun-control laws among the world's strictest [Reuters report].

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