Store owners want guns for protection; 60% say law should change

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More than 60 percent of store owners are pleading for a widening of the Weapons Law to allow for them to keep weapons in their shops in defense against the threat of robbers. One in five store owners questioned already has a weapon under the counter. 

This comes out of research from EenVandaag, who questioned 1000 shop keepers. In most cases, owners want to have less-lethal weapons such as baseball bats, but more elaborate items such as iron bars and chair legs with nails protruding from the top are also mentioned, the Algemeen Dagblad reports.

Jewelers are among those who admit that they keep a gun in the store. "After a robbery worth several thousands we also bought a weapon, a 9-millimeter", a jeweler tells. According to the AD, these store owners are supportive of the jeweler's wife in Deurne who shot and killed two robbers on the 28th of March. Almost 88 percent of shop owners say they understand why the jeweler's couple kept a weapon.

Of those questioned, 63 percent of shop owners thinks that the couple should not be prosecuted due to illegal possession of a weapon.

Experts are fearing an "escalation of violence" and an "arms race." Professor of criminal law Henny Sackers from the Radboud University Nijmegen says "what we should not have is that the robber thinks: The average store owner has a less-lethal weapon, so I can't come in there with a knife anymore, let me then take a fully-automatic firearm with me." Sackers calls this a "worrying spiral of over-arming."