BERLIN – Germany's government wants to tighten gun controls and ban combat games such as paint ball after a school shooting that left 16 dead, but victims' relatives said Friday the measures did not go far enough.
Lawmakers from the governing coalition parties said adopting the new measures — including stronger rules for registering and storing guns — would be an appropriate response to the March 11 massacre, in which a 17-year-old high-school graduate gunned down 15 people at his school before killing himself with a pistol taken from his father's bedroom.
The new measures represent a "balanced proposal," said legislator Wolfgang Bosbach of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats.
But relatives of those killed in the attack in Winnenden, near Stuttgart, called for an outright ban on pistols and high-caliber weapons.
"There cannot be a second Winnenden," Hardy Schober said at a news conference Friday. Schober's daughter died in the March 11 massacre.
The gun used by Tim Kretschmer in the shooting had been unsecured, in violation of existing laws, but Kretschmer's father had a permit to own it and belonged to a local gun club.
The government's proposal would require new "biometric" controls for home gun storage, possibly by mandating that safes and locks be deactivated by a registered owner's fingerprint.
It also would ban simulated combat games, including laser tag and paint ball, in which players use infrared sensors or compressed air guns and paint pellets to eliminate each other from play.
Those who defy the proposed ban could be punished with a fine of $6,700.
Some experts criticized the government's proposal as driven by a political need to look proactive in the wake of the nation's second-worst school shooting, after a 2002 shooting spree in Erfurt that left 17 dead including the gunman.
"It's a prime example of symbolic policies and action," criminologist Thomas Feltes said, adding that banning combat games was unlikely to deter such crimes.
The head of the German Shooting Federation said he worried his group's members would be "unjustifiably compared to common criminals."
"It can't be that, from now on, every district administrative office can come into every home. I protest against the arbitrariness," Josef Ambacher said.
The legislation — drafted by a government panel led by Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble — is scheduled to go before parliament this month, and be put before interior ministers from Germany's 16 states in June.