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Why are the weapons of The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon so archaic?

What The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon says about French gun control laws

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon
Image credit: AMC

The Walking Dead follows a group of people navigating a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. What began as a live-action adaptation of the comic of the same name from Robert Kirman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard has expanded into an entire shared universe with multiple spin-offs.

The latest installment in the ongoing saga is The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. The titular character finds himself far from home in an unfamiliar land. He must piece together how he arrived in France while finding a way back to his people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, he crosses paths with other people who aid him on his quest, and the bonds they form may alter his current plans.

Outside of a credits scene during the season two finale of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the Daryl Dixon-centric series is the first time we explore the world outside of North America. The French survivors had to adapt to the zombie apocalypse differently from their American counterparts. One of the noticeable differences from the first episode entitled 'L'ame Perdue' is the arsenals at their disposal.

'Got Ur Self a Gun'

The Walking Dead season 4 episode 8 -- Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) and Beth Greene (Emily Kinney)
Image credit: Gene Page/AMC

The various The Walking Dead shows have taken viewers across the continental United States (and even parts of Mexico). From the South and Eastern Seaboard to California's coast and the Midwest. Regardless of region, the world outside is unforgiving with ravenous undead, not to mention the living that remain. It's difficult to say which is the more dangerous threat. In order to stand a chance, you need to be well equipped and armed.

In the first season of the flagship series, it's clear how important guns are in their new normal. One of the first things main character, Rick Grimes, does after learning of the zombie apocalypse is to visit the Sheriff's Department headquarters where he worked and stocks up with firearms. In fact, one of his group's first conflicts with other survivors is over that stash.

The survivors in all the shows keep a melee weapon close with them – they don't jam or run out of bullets – but guns are still regularly used. The types of firearms the characters collect become deadlier and deadlier. Initially they used pistols, revolvers, shotguns, and hunting rifles. Then they level up to military grade equipment, including assault rifles and vehicles. In season four of The Walking Dead, antagonist, The Governor, confronts Rick and his people with a tank. During the sixth season of Fear of the Walking Dead, a doomsday cult prepares to launch nuclear missiles at locations throughout Texas. It seems there is no shortage of weapons during the end of the world.

Time to get medieval

Kim Higelin as Lou, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Milo Maze as Herisson - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1
Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon has a unique feel that separates it from the other series from the franchise due to its setting. You can sense the history from the various French locations due to the landscape and the building architecture. There are definitely Old World vibes.

Those vibes reflect the weapons the survivors use. While nuns treat Daryl for wounds at a church, we peer inside their medieval armory, a room for houses of worship built in that era. There is a vast assortment of swords, pikes, axes, and crossbows, as if the sisters were battling the White Walkers of Game of Thrones. What's really enticing is Daryl picking up a mace and chain from the collection. I can't wait to see him use that bad boy against some zombies.

The available guns are as archaic. To give you an idea, after Daryl rescues a young girl named Maribel from some ruffians called guerriers, he is about to dispatch one of the attackers with a flintlock pistol. Maribel intervenes, telling him not to waste the gun powder, and runs the enemy through with a spear. When a bigger group of guerriers arrives at the church looking for revenge, they use firearms more often seen in a museum. Most carry a World War I single shot bolt action rifles with a bayonet attached at the end, while one member lugs a blunderbuss. At least their leader, Codron, can fire multiple rounds with his Luger style pistol. These guns are a significant downgrade to what the American survivors have at their disposal.

The real world reasons

Romain Levi as Codron, Elias Hauter as Philippe - The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon _ Season 1
Image credit: Emmanuel Guimier/AMC

These antique arms play well with the Old World aesthetic of the French countryside. They also reflect how quickly society digressed, turning to such antiquated weapons. However, there is also a logical reason why things are this way, particularly with guns.

France is a member of the European Union and thus must follow the European Firearms Directive. The legal act sets restrictions on the ability of civilians to acquire firearms. In addition, current French measures limit the import and circulation of these types of weapons.

In order to purchase a gun in France, you need to obtain an appropriate license, depending on its type and purpose. The strictest path requires an individual to be older than 18, be affiliated with a shooting range for at least one year, attend a minimum of three shooting sessions with an instructor within a three-month span, and a medical evaluation.

They also require the purchase of a safe for storage. Once approved, authorization must be renewed regularly, and there are limits to the number of guns and amount of ammo you can obtain as well. Furthermore, privileges can be revoked at any time by the local police. If revoked or the licenses expire, the owner must dispose of their arms and ammo by destroying them or selling them to a gun shop.

Hunting is still a way of life in many regions of France, and these weapons are easier to buy. The only requirements are being older than 18 and having a valid hunting, shooting, or clay pigeon license. Interestingly, you only need to be older than 18 to purchase and own the black powder guns regularly used in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. Maybe that's why they are more accessible after society collapses and is the firearm of choice on the show. With such stringent laws, it's no surprise there is a reduced number of guns and the types available are more outdated than modern.

Here's how to watch the complete The Walking Dead universe in order.