Germany has suffered several school shootings in the last decade, the most egregious of which occurred in 2002, 2006, and 2009. In 2002, a nineteen-year-old, who had been expelled from his high school in Erfurt, entered the school armed with a semiautomatic pistol, shot and killed sixteen persons, most of them teachers, and then shot himself. In 2006, an eighteen-year-old entered his former school and shot and wounded five persons before killing himself. He was armed with a sawed-off percussion rifle and a sawed-off bolt-action rifle. The incident led to increased statutory restrictions of the online distribution of violent computer games to juveniles.
In 2009, in the massacre at Winnenden, a seventeen-year-old entered his old school armed with a semiautomatic pistol and started a shooting spree, which he continued while fleeing from the police, killing a total of fifteen persons and himself and wounding many more. The shooter had obtained the gun from his father’s bedroom, where it had been kept unlocked. The father was convicted of negligent homicide for the failure to lock up the gun, yet on appeal the Federal Court of Justice reversed the decision because of procedural errors. A new trial against the father is pending. It appears that prior to the massacre, the alleged perpetrator had been undergoing psychiatric counseling. The father is thus suing the psychiatric clinic, holding the clinic liable for failing to inform him of the dangerous condition of his son, who allegedly had uttered death threats to the psychiatric personnel and about which the father had not been told.