'Gunpowder Kurt' Convicted: Pensioner Jailed for Owning Huge Weapons Stash
A gun enthusiast was jailed on Tuesday for amassing one of the biggest private arsenals ever seen in Germany. "Gunpowder Kurt," as his neighbors called him, dressed up in a World War II uniform and took part in battle re-enactments. The village had to be evacuated as bomb disposal experts cleared his shed.
A German pensioner who collected a huge array of illegal weapons, including bazookas, machine guns, hand grenades and at least 100 kilograms of explosives, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison on Tuesday.
The district court in Bad Kreuznach said the stash, described by police as one of the biggest private arsenals ever amassed in Germany, was extremely dangerous and could easily have caused major damage.
The 64-year-old father of two, named only as Kurt N., was known as "Pulver Kurt" or "Gunpowder Kurt" in the village of Becherbach near Kaiserslautern where he lived. The 600 inhabitants had to be evacuated while munitions experts removed his collection from his shed and home in January 2011.
"It was a highly dangerous situation," said Bruno Kremer, the judge in the district court of Bad Kreuznach, western Germany. "They were functioning guns, highly dangerous guns."
Kurt N. had permits for some of the weapons but private ownership of most of them, such as rocket-propelled grenades, is banned by law.
Kurt N. told the court he had been fascinated by weapons ever since he was a child. He joined a battle re-enactment society and would dress up in full World War II gear. That prompted his lawyer to plead that he was addicted to weapons and therefore could not be held fully responsible for his actions.
But a psychologist testified that Kurt N. was highly intelligent and didn't have an "emotional relationship" with weapons, hence his passion for collection wasn't involuntary.
"He was well aware of the law and ignored it," said Kremer.
cro -- with wire reports
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