The war against Ukraine and the crimes in Bokza and other cities show that when state functions are weakened, the enemy, the invader, shoots civilians, because every war is actually fought against civilians. Therefore, reasonable state authorities should prepare society in advance so that it can defend itself – says Andrzej Turchin, Board Member of Ruch Obywatelski Miłników Broni, expert on draft amendments to the Law on Weapons and Ammunition, President of Trybun.org.pl Foundation, which operates To support and disseminate physical culture and sports, especially shooting sports.
Poland has one of the most demilitarized societies in Europe, for a hundred people there is only one weapon, while, for example, a hundred Czechs have 16, Germans, French and Swedish – about 30, and Switzerland – 40. You say that guns are an indispensable component of the social life of nations, and that we must rebuild the culture of gun ownership in Poland. Can we do it and how?
We can do it. In Poland, it will be possible to achieve this when reasonable access to firearms is introduced, through a law regulating this. There are two bills in the House of Representatives, one on amending the existing Arms and Ammunition Act, and the other a completely new one. Both are a good solution, introducing a new system for issuing permits for weapons. Is it possible to adopt any of them? Yes – MPs from the ruling party have shown that they can pass the bill in one night or one night. The only question is whether the party is ready to do this when its leadership vehemently opposes citizens’ access to firearms, and as the slogan repeats the motto – a strong state. Except that he is strong – unfortunately towards the citizens. At the same time, the public should have the right to have access to firearms and an effective accountability mechanism in case of crimes.
So – since there is a permanent education in the spirit of communist control over the life of the citizen, then – there is no opportunity to give citizens the right of self-defense?
The PiS leadership is hesitant about the individuality of citizens, and therefore is afraid of citizens acquiring weapons. In addition, the military and police experts who talk in front of the cameras have weapons at home, but they openly deny citizens the right to that, as a rule, we are smarter than you and we know how to handle weapons, you do not. Therefore, for your safety, we do not allow you to own weapons. But there is no chance? The presence of two bills, unfortunately, frozen as before in the previous terms, gives hope that there are opportunities.
Why are these ready-made projects not subject to the work of members? When will they be frozen?
Of course, there is no official reason to postpone it. But we can see that it is necessary. The war against Ukraine and the crimes in Bokza and other cities show that when state functions are weakened, the enemy, the invader, shoots civilians, because every war is actually fought against civilians. Therefore, reasonable state authorities must prepare society in advance for its own defence. The ruling party must have realized that after the outbreak of the war and after the Russians moved against civilians, there was a great deal of interest in accessing weapons and shooting ranges in Poland, where shops were selling guns and ammunition – but unfortunately, just like after the first Russian aggression in 2014 refrains About acting and watching and waiting. But waiting instead of acting is very harmful. However, there are MPs, such as Arkadiusz Czartoryski of the Republican Party or Jarosław Sachajko of Kukiz’15, who are working to unfreeze the bills. What is required here is the determination and will of the voters so that the ruling party stops waiting and adopts the bill.
Is the current Weapons and Ammunition Act bad legislation?
I will not say it categorically: it requires changes appropriate to the situation and the scandalous degree of disarmament of society. But since 2010, people who meet certain conditions can obtain a firearms licence, although it is a lengthy and expensive process, thus discouraging many interested parties. However, interest in weapons is growing: in 2014, the Polish police issued 7110 permits to weapons, of which 4811 – for hunting, in 2020 – 15330, but of them 6941 – for collectors and 5031 – for sports. In 2021 – already 19,339, including 9,233 collectors and 6806 – female athletes. This year, due to the international situation, these numbers will definitely be higher.
Today’s realities have re-evaluated the value system in a very short time: people want access to weapons, they want exercise, they want to be able to fend for themselves – they apply for permits, and if they succeed, they convince others to do so. In the end, the party pits will give signals to the mountain that a certain step should be taken. It may not be too late.
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