- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

BERLIN (AP) - Germany’s chancellor called Sunday for greater government supervision of gun owners after a school shooting last week that killed 15 people.

The country’s gun laws were already tightened after a 2002 school shooting in the eastern German city of Erfurt. But Angela Merkel said she favors further restrictions, such as unannounced visits by state authorities to ensure owners have their weapons and ammunition locked away.

“We must do everything to see to it that children do not get access to weapons,” Merkel said in a radio interview.

Authorities say that Tim Kretschmer, the 17-year-old who went on a killing rampage at his former high school Wednesday, used one of his father’s weapons to gun down his 15 victims.

The 9mm Beretta pistol was unsecured in his father’s bedroom in violation of German law.

Also Sunday, hundreds of people in the small German town of Winnenden, where the school shooting took place, gathered for a church service to mourn the victims.

People continued to come to the school grounds to light candles or place flowers on a makeshift memorial that has grown by the day.

Kretschmer gunned down students and teachers at his former high school before fleeing on foot and by car, killing three more people, and eventually shooting himself in the head, police say.

Police say that during their investigation of Kretschmer’s computer, they found horror films, violent video games and pornography featuring bondage. Some of the images showed naked, shackled women, police said.

Four days after the blood bath, investigators are trying to determine a motive in the case. They faced an early setback when they said Kretschmer had announced plans to attack the school hours beforehand on an Internet chat site. But they soon began to doubt the authenticity of the posting, and have not said whether the Internet posting was a hoax.

Most of Kretschmer’s victims were female.

Of nine students killed, eight were girls, and all three teachers were women.

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