SIG Sauer to shutter German weapons factory | News | DW | 04.06.2020

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SIG Sauer to shutter German weapons factory

Arms manufacturer SIG Sauer says it will close its German branch late this year, blaming German strictures on sports guns. Its thriving US armoury based in New Hampshire delivers arms to the US military.

SIG Sauer, long the target of disarmament campaigners in Germany, announced Thursday it intended by year's end to close its factory at Eckernförde near Kiel, capital of Germany's northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein. 

It blamed "locational handicaps" hindering its diverse pistol and sports guns sales, claiming a "few other local producers" were preferred in government purchases for Germany's police forces and Bundeswehr military.

Public broadcaster NDR quoted manager Tim Castagne as saying the workers' council at the Eckernförde site, established in 1951, had been briefed about some 125 job losses as well plans to fulfill purchase orders.

"Due to its international orientation, SIG Sauer is systematically excluded from tenders [in Germany], said Castagne, intimating, said NDR, that most of its weapons were developed in the United States.

Origins in Switzerland

SIG Sauer, with interlinked ownerships, and origins going back to 1864 in Switzerland, relocated within the USA in 1990, establishing at Newington, New Hampshire, an arms factory and "state-of-the-art" training academy, now with 1,200 employees.

SIG Sauer Inc.'s products include its P-series handguns for "the law enforcement market," rifles, including sports versions, and machine guns for the US military.

On Monday, its US branch said it was "proud" to announce the delivery of lightweight "Next Generation" machine guns and "greater penetration" ammunition to the US Army.

Read more: German arms exports - what you need to know

German weapons kill 'every 14 minutes'

In April, German public broadcaster SWR reported that Kiel prosecutors were examining fresh claims that SIG Sauer's US branch was implicated in the export of weapons to Colombia and Mexicowithout a German government export permit.

Last month, when Germany published its arms export data for 2019, opposition Left Party disarmament expert Sevim Dagdelen slammed SIG Sauer, along with Heckler & Koch and Carl Walther, and federal authorities in Berlin. 

"It doesn't seem to bother the Federal Government that every 14 minutes around the world a person is killed by a German weapon," exclaimed Dagdelen.

A German town pays the price for Saudi export ban

Three pistols focus of Hanau shooting 

After the shooting massacre of nine persons in Hanau, Germany, last February, and suicide-death of the 43-year-old assailant, police reportedly found three weapons: a borrowed Ceska, his own Walther and a SIG Sauer pistol.

The German parliament's interior committee was told that the gunman fired 52 shots and police found 350 cartridges inside his rucksack at home.

ipj/rt (dpa, KNA)

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