German Court Bans Right-Wing Party Members from Owning Firearms: Could It Happen Here?

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

In an alarming move, a German court has banned members of a right-leaning political party from possessing firearms. This decision might not be surprising, given the country’s history. However, it raises an important question: Could this happen in the United States?

The Dusseldorf Administrative Court issued the ruling against the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) supposedly out of concerns over their right-wing stances.

The party is known for its opposition to mass immigration, conservative economic policies, and its embrace of nationalism. The party has been gaining popularity over recent years as Europe experiences a populist blowback against far-leftist policies.

The ruling came after a married couple who are members of AfD tried to have their gun permits reinstated after they had been revoked. The court denied their request, which set a precedent for other members of the party.

The couple, with more than 230 firearms between them, were ordered to hand in their weapons to the government or destroy them, and same goes for all ammunition.

The court will allow an appeal, given the case sets precedent for other members of AfD.

German intelligence (BfV) has officially designated the AfD of suspect in making attempts to undermine the country’s democracy. The political party sued over the designation, but a lower court dismissed it in May.

Members of political parties suspected of anti-democratic ideas should be listed as “unreliable” under firearms laws, the court decided.

“Membership of a party that is suspected of anti-constitutional tendencies alone regularly leads to the presumption of unreliability under weapons law according to the applicable strict standards of weapons law,” the court said.

This should sound eerily familiar. Can we think of anyone in the United States who routinely accuses their opposition of being a threat to “democracy?”

When I first saw this story, my first thought was, “Anti-gunners would love to do this in America.”

However, disarming their political opposition would be tricky given that the Second Amendment is still a thing, at least for the time being. Moreover, the First Amendment prohibits the government from targeting people based on political affiliation. Of course, the federal government has pursued ways of subverting this, especially when it comes to online speech.

But considering the numbers, there could be a way for anti-gunners to target conservatives and libertarians – even with legislation that might affect everyone regardless of political affiliation.

About 48 percent of Republicans personally own a firearm, while 66 percent live in a household with guns, according to Statista. For Democrats, the percentages are 20 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Among Independents, they are 32 percent and 42 percent.

If the anti-gunners were to get their way, it would clearly disproportionately affect those who are right of center. Sure, it would disarm some on the left. But such an initiative would be an effort to disarm those who disagree with their politics, given that most anti-gunners are firmly on the left. After all, if higher percentages of Democrats saw the value in gun ownership, would the left be as gung-ho about disarming them?

Maybe so, maybe no.

But we have seen the memes and tropes regarding white rednecks clinging to their firearms, despite the fact that gun ownership in minority communities has risen drastically over recent years. It is not beyond the scope of imagination to suggest that much of the anti-gunner sentiment is motivated by bias against folks on the right.

The German court’s move should serve as a warning to all Americans who value gun rights. While it could be harder to accomplish in the United States, it could become easier if we do not remain vigilant about protecting our right to keep and bear arms.


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