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Germany to Introduce National Weapons Registry by January

Germany is introducing a national firearms registry that will be operational next year, implementing a European Union directive two years ahead of its due date.

The register will pool nearly 550 local-level databases of gun owners, the Interior Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today. The EU weapons directive requires every member state to put in place a national registry by December 31, 2014.

The German government decided to accelerate the introduction of the catalog after a 2009 school shooting. A 17-year-old gunman killed 15 people, including nine children and three teachers, in a school in the town of Winnenden, near Stuttgart, before committing suicide.

“The national weapons registry contributes significantly to the security in Germany,” said German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich in the statement. “Through the national weapons registry, the police will be able to check countrywide, who owns which weapon legally.”

In a second step, the registry will also track producers, traders and importers of legally bought weapons in Germany. The Cologne-based Federal Administration Office will operate the database.

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