Heckler & Koch weapons are among the most popular in the world: For the G3 rifle alone export licenses have been granted for 80 states and licenses to produce the G3 have been granted to 15 states. Other Heckler & Koch weapons like the MP5 submachine gun belong to the most widely distributed small arms in the world. The MP5, praised by security forces as the “Mercedes among submachine guns ” because of its accuracy of fire, has been proven to be in use in 61 states and is produced legally with a license in seven states.
Heckler & Koch will further secure its position as a worldwide producer of small arms with a new generation of small arms. The new rifle models G36, XM8 and OICW, the mortar XM25, the submachine gun MP7 and many other so-called “wonder weapons” will develop to sales hits in the coming years – in any case, this is the wish of the H&K business leadership.
It is well-known, that legal weapons quickly become illegal by means of re-export, sales on the black market and as captured booty. Heckler & Koch weapons are also popular among so-called “terrorists”. The Red Army Fraktion (RAF) murdered with H&K small arms in the 80’s. Guerilla organisations like the Peruvian Sendero Luminoso or the military arm of the Kurdish PKK fought battles with government troops with H&K weapons, while the government shot with legally supplied H&K rifles. In March 2003, the Serbian minister president Goran Djindjic was murdered with a G3 sniper rifle. During the past months, pictures of Palestinian underground fighters, swearing revenge against Israeli bombers, have gone around the world. They stretched their MP5 submachine guns victoriously into the air.
Perhaps it is difficult to distinguish between the hunted and the hunter, the democrat, the apparent democrat and the dictator, the terrorist and the terrorist hunter. But there is one thing they all have in common: they prefer to shoot with the most accurate instruments of murder in the world: weapons that have been or will be developed by Heckler & Koch in Oberndorf on the Neckar.
It is probably because of the damage to its image, that the house of Heckler & Koch does not like being confronted with the fact, that child soldiers, too, are fighting with G3 rifles. However, the old G3-rifles are too heavy to become the standard weapons of child soldiers. This problem can be solved. Because the new generation of H&K weapons is characterized not only by an essentially higher accuracy in hitting “soft targets” (H&K advertising terminology), but also by a perceptible reduction of weight.
The arms export policy of the Federal Republic of Germany, which does not even recoil from issuing export permits for small arms to areas of tension and civil war like Nepal, Saudi-Arabia, Israel and Turkey, is a reason to fear worse. Heckler & Koch is still the third largest small arms producer. There is danger, that with the new weapons generation, the new weapons work in Georgia (USA) and the new large contracts for the US-Army, H&K will advance to Number 1.
To prevent this from happening, peace and human rights organisations, humanitarian and church groups have joined together to form the German Action Network to Stop Small Arms (DAKS). With the motto “Schließen – statt schießen!“ (“Close down – instead of shooting!”) we want to inform, protest and take influence upon the permit practice of the German government. The production of useful civil goods should take the place of arms production.
The vision has been defined - now it is time to take the necessary steps toward disarmament.
(Translation: V. Edwards-Menz)