Frauke Petry,.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Metropolico.org, used under CC BY-SA

All law-abiding citizens should be able to own weapons in order to protect themselves and their families, the head of Germany's right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said Saturday.

"We all know how long it takes for the police to arrive, especially in sparsely populated areas," said Frauke Petry, one of two party co-leaders, in an interview with Funke Mediengruppe newspapers.

It's not a cause of concern when residents are armed, she added, especially considering that cuts to police departments have led the state to "lose in part" its monopoly on the use of force.

Petry rejected the notion of tightening gun laws, saying that "honest citizens are the ones affected, not those who procure weapons via the darknet" - a computer network requiring special software to access.

An increasing number of people in Germany have small firearms licences, growing by 49 per cent, to about 402,000 licence holders, in the first half of 2016, the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported in July, citing information from the Interior Ministry.

Such a licence, which can be obtained without having to demonstrate expert knowledge or necessity, allows the licensee to carry gas pistols and flare guns in public. However, the number of people obtaining a licence for heavier weapons has fallen in the first half of the year, to 1.894 million people, according to ministry figures.

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