Before the District Court in Freyung, a 40-year-old man explained how he had attempted to buy a Glock 17 on the darknet for his own protection. The man’s lawyers explained how the series of events that led up to the gun purchase pushed his client over the edge and encouraged him to buy a firearm on the darknet. In light of what happened, the District Court judge decided to impose a suspended sentence, rather than a lengthy prison sentence for violating the weapons law. The 40-year-old must now complete community service in order to avoid going to prison.
He explained that he worked with “dodgy individuals” in Slovakia until their business went under. From his description, the business sounded like a startup that the 40-year-old had helped create. However, things with his business partners did not go so well. After the business went under, the defendant had a falling out with his former business partners. The so-called “dodgy individuals” threatened the defendant’s life through emails and phone calls. They also threatened his family, he told the court. At this point in time, the defendant, fearing for his life, moved to Germany with his family.
Shortly after moving to Germany, the man decided to go back to Slovakia in order to grab his laptop and credit cards. He had left them in a hurry to leave the country. After obtaining his computer, the man found a guide on the internet that provided instructions on buying a gun on the darknet. “He felt threatened and had already changed his email address and phone number,” the man’s lawyer told the court. He reached out to a contact on the darknet who agreed to sell him a gun, but the 40-year-old found himself unable to afford the gun. So over the course of several months, the man made payments on the Glock. “My parents were threatened,” the defendant said. “That’s why I wanted to buy a gun to protect myself and my family.”
His mother lent or gave him the money for the Glock. The police found no evidence indicating that the mother knew what her son had planned to do with the money she gave him. After several months, the defendant had purchased 60 percent of the handgun. It amounted to 1,900 euros. Only then did the Attorney General in Bamberg receive word from Australian authorities that a person in Germany had been trying to purchase a Glock on the darknet.
At this point, buying firearms on the darknet seemingly turns out poorly more often than not. Accurate figures are hard to come by as darknet gun buyers who have actually succeeded in purchasing a gun are not too keen on revealing that information. But, at least in Germany, darknet gun buyers are playing a game with the odds stacked heavily against them. And recently, cases have started involving participation from Australian authorities. Undercover officers pose as darknet gun vendors everywhere. References to Australian police—in German cases—are becoming more frequent.
For instance, at a recent sentencing hearing at Dresden District Court, a 35-year-old man received a 28 month prison sentence for ordering five Glocks from a darknet vendor. The vendor, as expected, was an Australian undercover officer who posed as a vendor, took the buyer’s money, and then reported the buyer to German authorities.
The Freyung man left the courthouse with a much lighter sentence than the man from the Dresden case. In order to avoid spending just under a year in prison, the 40-year-old must spend three years on probation and complete 120 hours of community service.