Swiss Authorities Left Powerless Against Online German Weapons Shop
On May 18, a man from Frick, Switzerland visited the website migrantenshreck.ru (migrant fright in English), a firearm webshop promising fast and discreet product delivery for customers who want to protect themselves against asylum seekers. Behind the shop is Mario Rönsch, a well-known German right wing extremist who is infamous in the country for calling for violence and incitement.
The Frick man ordered a Schreckschuss Revolver for 399 euros and a pack of 9mm pepper spray gas cartridges, made by Walther costing 39.98 euros. He also purchased a tube of Oxet A2 silicone gel for 7.99 euros, which is a necessary equipment for hard rubber bullets. This type of ammunition can lead to severe injuries at short distances.
The weapons shop promises “fast and discreet delivery with no bureaucratic hurdles”. Almost 200 successful orders were made via the website in the last seven months from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. German newspaper zeit.de acquired customer data and leaked it online. The statistics show that six orders were made only in Switzerland.
According to the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol), an authorization is needed for the import of such weapons. However, the webshop received no import searches and all of the customers acquired the firearms illegally in Switzerland.
The Aargau Canton Police visited the Frick man in October. The customer received a note from the Land Criminal Police Office (LKA) in Berlin. The LKA is currently conducting an investigation on the webshop. However, the police visit came off as unsuccessful since the Frick man denied all claims against himself and law enforcement authorities couldn’t perform a house search.
The canton police in Thurgau, St. Gallen, Basel-Landschaft and Solothurn were not even aware that customers made gun orders from the Migrantenschreck website in their area.
“We will look at the facts together with the relevant cantons,” said Fedpol spokeswoman Lulzana Musliu.
However, regarding the website, Swiss police is powerless.
“Even if the site is clearly hurtful, we can’t simply switch it off because it is a foreign domain,” Musliu said.
According to a Swiss news outlet’s research, the website first went online in April on a .ch domain, which locked the site down, later on. However, the .ru domain offers the website a good protection against Swiss law enforcement authorities. According to Zeitonline, the German extremist orders the rubber guns from Hungary, which seems to be the website administrator’s headquarters. At the address provided on the site, there is no office but a mailbox. According to the German news outlet, the guns are sent by post from Hungary to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
The chance for customs detecting a package is quite low and area-wide screenings are not possible due to the high number of parcels arriving daily. Without legal permission to perform a home search, law enforcement authorities in Switzerland remain powerless against the weapon shop.
“It’s true,” Bernhard Graser said from the Aargau police. “In theory, everyone can order a weapon online or from the Dark net.”
More and more people are purchasing weapons in Switzerland. Since the intercepted firearm packages are not listed in the country, we can’t see how much illegal parcels were seized in Switzerland. However, the issued firearm rate grew fast. In Aargau, from 2015 to today, the number of weapons-issued-licenses increased from 3,650 to 4,900, over 34% in one year.