Polish right calls for easier access to guns

Those who back easier access to weapons say that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an opportunity to loosen the regulations concerning the possession of firearms in Poland. [Alexandra Wei/EPA/EFE]

The Polish right has proposed simplifying gun ownership regulations and shortening the procedure for applying for a gun permit as Russia’s attack on Ukraine has renewed discussions in Poland about the country’s stringent gun ownership laws.

Education minister Przemysław Czarnek has already announced that schools will provide defence training and shooting exercises for students as of September.

Those who back easier access to weapons say that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an opportunity to loosen the regulations concerning the possession of firearms in Poland. Currently, Poland is the least armed country in Europe and the EU, with only 2.5 firearms per 100 inhabitants. The situation is caused by applying for a gun licence, which consists of many practical, theoretical and medical tests.

The conservative Republican Party is calling for the regulations concerning access to weapons to be loosened, to shorten the procedure of applying for a weapons permit and improve the legislation on necessary defence so that gun owners in Poland do not feel unsafe using arms in self-defence.

“Polish society is ready to train and create various types of organisations, including non-governmental ones, to defend the homeland,” said MP Arkadiusz Czartoryski. “We are submitting our proposal in parliament and are open to discussion,” he announced.

“We will streamline the process of obtaining all permits necessary to build shooting ranges,” said Adam Bielan, the leader of the Republican Party.

According to opponents of the idea of facilitating access to weapons, it is not difficult to obtain a shooting permit in Poland anyway, and making it easy to access weapons would be irresponsible.

The annual number of gun permits issued has been steadily increasing. In 2014, 7,110 such documents were issued, and in 2020, 15,330.

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