The shooting on July 30 at the Grey nightclub in Konstanz left one victim dead and three others injured. The German police are currently investigating the origins of the firearm, however, there are no certain findings in the case. A weapon expert considers subsidiary sales channels, such as the dark web, possible.
At a press conference, the Konstanz police department presented the M16 rifle, which was used by the 34-year-old Iraqi national who shot up the Grey nightclub in Konstanz on July 31. According to the German news outlet Freie Presse, law enforcement authorities are facing a crucial task even after the attacker is dead – he died in a hospital after the police shot him. Since the 34-year-old attacked used an assault rifle, the investigators are tasked to clarify how a private individual in Germany managed to acquire a weapon of war. The shooter was born in Iraq but since 1991, he has been living in Germany, the news outlet reported.
M16 rifles of the U.S. Army are considered to be the personal rifle of a soldier. In addition to the single shot and the three-shot burst fire modes, this weapon type can also be converted to a fully automatic firearm. If the attacker applied this function in the nightclub, more victims would be dead. The spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office stated on July 31 that the weapon could be either fully or partly sourced from army stocks or from the dark web.
Law enforcement should consider the darknet as the transfer center for such weapons, firearm expert Oliver Huber at the German Rifle Association stated. According to him, it is possible that a firearm vendor purchased an inoperative weapon, turned it lethal, and sold it to a customer.
“For this purpose, we assemble individual pieces of so-called decorative weapons. These are original war weapons, which were rendered inoperative, in order to sell them for decoration purposes. In principle, reactivation of decoration weapons is not a problem,” Huber said in a statement. Since different laws on weapons in the European Union, one would have to combine only functional modules of various firearms in order to get a completely functional weapon.
“In order to build 10 operational weapons, more than 50 such inoperative weapons are needed,” said Huber. According to the weapon expert, old models of the AK 47 assault rifle – or Kalashnikov – are sold at a cheap price on the internet. Huber emphasized that the variants of the weapon are also present in war zones in developing countries in Africa.
Contrary to the public prosecutor’s official statement, Huber doesn’t think the Konstanz shooter’s M16 rifle originated from an army depot. According to the weapon expert, the process, in which the firearm is smuggled to the underground market and sold to customers, is too complicated and dangerous. Huber insists on his opinion that the assault rifle was originally bought as a non-functional or decorative weapon, and was turned into lethal.