Gun sales have jumped 350 per cent in Austria amid 'unease' over increasing numbers of Muslim migrants following the Paris terror attacks, firearm dealers have claimed.
The final months of 2015 showed increases in gun permit applications while dealers reported huge demand for self-defence weapons such as tasers, pepper spray and blank firing-guns.
It comes just months after shotguns were reported to have sold out across the country as residents became increasingly paranoid about refugee numbers.
Hundreds of migrants who arrived at the Hungarian-Austria border by train make their way into Austria. Many residents have been purchasing weapons amid increased fears of break-ins and crime
Hundreds of migrants wait at the Slovenian-Croatian border crossing of Sredisce ob Dravi, Slovenia
A spokesperson for the arms industry told broadcaster ORF that it was 'clear that people's general sense of unease has increased', The Local reported.
In Styria, which borders Slovenia, the number of permits issued has drastically increased since thousands of refugees began streaming across its borders every day.
Styrian police said: 'Most people said they wanted a weapon because they didn't feel safe'.
And in Leibnitz and Sudoststeiermark, the number of permits also quadrupled last year, the website reported.
In October, shotguns were reported to have almost sold out across the entire country.
'Virtually all shotguns are currently sold out because you need no permit for them', said Thomas Ortner, spokesman for an arms dealer in Upper Austria.
Broadcasters and local media say the numbers of refugees - coupled with a fear of break-ins as a result - is fuelling the arms race.
'Because of the social change, people want to protect themselves,' one arms dealer told the broadcaster oe.24. He said 'many women' were among his customers.
Czech Independent TV has also reported on an arms upsurge. A few months ago it was revealed most rifles in the country were out of stock.
Migrants scuffle as they wait to cross the border from Slovenia into Austria after they were routed through the country when Hungary closed its border with Croatia
A central weapon register was introduced in June 2014 to record all legal firearm sales and this year more than 14,000 new weapons were purchased.
Dealers reported that women are also driving up sales of pepper spray because of their fears for personal security in the midst of the great migration of refugees heading to Germany.
'We cannot complain about a lack of demand,' said Stephan Mayer, a gun merchant. 'People want to protect themselves.
'The most common purchasers of arms are primarily Austrian women who are also buying tear [pepper] sprays, which are much in demand.'