France’s Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a recent interview that approximately 100 terror suspects legally own firearms in the country.
Collomb’s claim follows the June 19 terror attack in which a known gun enthusiast plowed a car filled with weapons and gas canisters into a police van on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
The only victim killed in the attack was jihadist Adam Djaziri, 31, but the incident raised questions about how Djaziri legally possessed firearms after being identified two years ago as a potential radical Islamist.
In an interview with Le Figaro newspaper two days after the attack, Collomb said he had requested an investigation into similar cases.
The Daily Mail reported that, “During a Senate hearing on a proposed new anti-terrorism law, Collomb said they ‘identified about 100’ individuals who, like Djaziri, were registered gun owners despite being on a watch list for extremism.”
Collomb said, “The person who wanted to commit that attack was on file and, at the same time, was the legal owner of firearms. This is a sign of dysfunction.”
The interior minister also said that he had asked local authorities to identify individuals on security watch lists so that they are “able to take action and treat these problems” in order for France to “return to a normal state.”
The European country has been under a state of emergency since the attacks in Paris in November 2015, when ISIS terrorists killed 130 people in shootings and bombings at the Bataclan concert venue, bars, restaurants and the national stadium.
France has extended the state of emergency five times.
The latest extension will formally expire in mid-July when the centrist government of newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron is expected to extend it through November 1, while the new anti-terrorism law is crafted.
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