will face pressure to re-evaluate its already tough gun laws in response to yesterday's school shooting near Stuttgart, in which at least 16 people have died, including the teenage gunman.
Over the past decade more teenagers have gone on the rampage in Germany than in any other country apart from the US. Germany also has some of the world's strictest gun laws.
Handguns are on sale only to those 18 or over, with heavier weapons restricted to over 21s. No weapon can be purchased legally without a firearms ownership licence, which is available only after personal checks.
None of this prevented a 17-year-old former pupil of Albertville school in Winnenden going on the rampage. According to Spiegel online, the student's family kept 18 different weapons at home.
Germany's ZDF TV, quoting police sources, confirmed one of the father's weapons was missing.
Last night experts suggested that early recognition offered a better chance than tougher gun laws of stopping potential teenage killers. "There is a preparation time which goes on for weeks and even months," Dr Jens Hoffman, a criminal psychologist at Darmstadt's technical university told the Süddeutsche Zeitung yesterday.
Hoffmann suggested that a psychological risk-evaluation system could have spotted the killer. It would include questioning to reveal whether a person identified with other teenage killers, had shown off a weapon or had had other problems, including with drugs, the psychologist said.
The killer's decision to try to escape after yesterday's school shooting was unusual but not unprecedented, he added. "It's possible that the teenage killer could have been preparing a finale somewhere else," Hoffman said.
This is not, however, Germany's deadliest school shooting spree. In 2002 a disgruntled ex-pupil shot dead 17 people, including himself, in the eastern city of Erfurt. In 2006 an 18-year-old pupil in the north-western town of Emsdetten injured 37 people, then killed himself.
These shootings prompted German MPs to tighten the country's gun laws. In April 2008 a new amendment to Germany's Waffengesetz , or gun regulation law, banned Tasers and dummy guns, as well as several other weapons. Anyone deemed aggressive, unreliable or with criminal convictions cannot legally buy a gun in Germany.
Pro-gun groups argue that stricter legislation would not deter hardcore criminals from using weapons acquired illegally. But across Europe the gun lobby appears to be losing the argument.
Finland - with more lax gun laws than Germany - yesterday tightened its legislation, after two bloody school massacres in 2007 and 2008. Guns in Finland are now only sold to those aged over 20.
Attempts to introduce stricter legislation in Germany will be difficult. The country has a long-running love affair with hunting, especially in the conservative and rural south.