Lighted Candles Next To A Placard Reading 'I Am Charlie'
A woman lights a candle next to a placard reading "I am Charlie" during a gathering in Pristina January 7, 2015, following a shooting by gunmen at the offices of weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Gunmen stormed the Paris offices of the magazine renowned for lampooning radical Islam, killing at least 12 people, including two police officers in the worst militant attack on French soil in recent decades. Reuters/Hazir Reka

The brutal attack that led to the death of at least 12 satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper journalists/cartoonists on Wednesday had put France into a hotseat. Masked, black-clad killers were able to carry and flaunt Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifles in a nation that has one of the toughest gun control laws in the whole world, far stricter even than in the U.S.

French President Francois Hollande called the deadly assault a terrorist attack. Apart from the journalists/cartoonists, also included among the fatalities were police officers. They were the first respondents to the crime scene. Naturally, because of France's strict gun control laws, they arrived on the scene on pushbikes and unarmed. "If the people so violently shot down in Paris had guns, at least they would have had a fighting chance. Isn't it interesting that the tragedy in Paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world? Remember, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns!" American businessman Donald Trump tweeted after the incident.

Christian Science Monitor believes it is highly likely the firearms used by the two assailants were not bought legally nor do they have registered firearm licenses. It is greatly possible the weapons were sourced from the black market, potentially online, of which thrives in France and Europe. In fact, "the hub of one of the largest Internet trafficking rings is thought to be in Paris," Christian Science Monitor said.

Philippe Capon, the head of UNSA police union, confirmed the scenario. "The French black market for weapons has been inundated with eastern European war artillery and arms. They are everywhere in France," he told Bloomberg. He said in the black market, the AK-47s, the weapons of choice by the Charlie Hebdo gunmen, sell for 1,000 euros ($1,181) to 1,500 euros.

The National Observatory for Delinquency, a state body created in 2003 by then-Interior Minister and later President Nicolas Sarkozy, said while France bans semi-automatic and automatic firearms, the numbers of illegal weapons have jumped and continue to do so for years. Emmanuel Quemener from the police union Alliance had described the gunmen used "weapons of war," among which were the Kalashnikovs. In 2012, according to the Figaro newspaper, France had at least 4,000 illegal "war weapons."