France Confiscates Weapons from 100 Suspected Extremists

National Security

flickr photo by Max Griffith​​

France Confiscates Weapons from 100 Suspected Extremists
 

​French authorities are turning to legislation to curb terrorism. After discovering that a radicalized man who ran his car into a police convoy in Paris had joined a gun club, officials are tracking down potential militants and taking away their weapons.

Prosecutors revealed that the 31-year-old man who shot and killed a police officer and then rammed his car into a police van had pledged allegiance to ISIS and was known to French authorities. Several guns—and a permit allowing him to own the weapons—were found in his car, and it was later discovered that he had trained at a gun club. The man died after his vehicle caught on fire after the attack. 

The realization sparked an effort to confiscate weapons from other people known to authorities as having the potential to become violent Islamist jihadists. France’s interior minister said officials were tracking down about 100 people on the list to take their guns away.

The action was taken two weeks before France’s parliament votes on an extension of the country’s state of emergency. Following the November 2015 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, a state of emergency was declared, which gives police extended powers of search and arrest. The state of emergency has continued to be extended by Parliament and will expire in mid-July if it is not extended again.  

The new administration, led by President Emmanuel Macron, will put forth legislation this fall to end the periodic extension of emergency rule and instead implement changes that would allow officials who vet gun permit requests to access terrorist watchlists. 

French officials have thwarted seven attacks this year, but several plots have been carried out by lone actors, such as the one who rammed his car into the police van. At least 230 people have been killed in France by Islamist extremists since November 2015.  ​