Can a “radicalized” person lawfully possess weapons?

Despite having been in recent years the prime target of most murderous terrorist attacks ever perpetrated in Europe, France has just realized that its government never decided to cross-check intelligence files with weapons permit files.

As a result, a recent failed terrorist attack on the highly famous Champs-Elysées that only killed the terrorist who carried it out showed that the same individual had the proper official authorization to detain weapons although he was listed as “radicalized” and being summoned by domestic intelligence agency at the time of the attack.

Despite enforcing very strict laws that make quite difficult for a French civilian to detain – let alone bear – weapons, this individual was allowed to possess several guns because of his membership to a shooting sport club. He also had an AK-47 assault rifle for which he had none authorization however.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe explained that the authorization wasn’t withdrawn lest it could tip the individual off about being on the intelligence agency’s radar screen. Since then, the French government has taken steps to prevent anyone who’s “radicalized” and listed from detaining any weapon.

It thus took two years and a half since Charlie Hebdo’s attack for the government to understand that allowing a radicalized person to possess weapons could contradict with the fight against terrorism: better late than never.

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