Last year police in Poland issued 13,800 new permits to citizens to own firearms, up from 9,800 in 2015 and 7,100 in 2014, the Rzeczpospolita daily reported on Tuesday, quoting unofficial police data.
Stanisław Pięta, an MP for the conservative governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, told the paper that the growing popularity of firearms is in part because “Poles don’t want to be left disarmed in a dangerous world.”
'Shooting is an exciting sport'
“Besides, shooting is an exciting sport,” said Pięta, who is promoting wider possession of firearms in Poland.
The trend also reflects a “stronger interest in history” among Polish people these days, according to Pięta, especially as their country “had a strong tradition of gun possession up until the communist era.”
Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz has previously suggested that citizens’ access to firearms in Poland may be expanded in the future.
“A time will come when it will be possible to expand access to firearms to a much greater extent,” Macierewicz said in a comment late last year.
New territorial defence forces
He added that “an important step in this direction” was the establishment of the country’s new territorial defence forces, based on volunteers.
Firearms "are a great responsibility and one simply has to learn this responsibility,” Macierewicz said during a book fair in Warsaw at the end of November. He added that Poles must first "go through the stages of maturing to use and possess firearms."
But he suggested that Poland’s current gun laws could be relaxed in the coming “years rather than decades.”
More than 50,000 people are expected to serve in Poland’s new territorial defence forces by 2019, according to the defence ministry.
For now Poland ranks far behind some other countries in Europe in terms of access to firearms, according to Rzeczpospolita.
Statistically, only 3.5 people per 1,000 in Poland have a gun licence, compared with 30 in the Czech Republic, 40 in Germany, and 308 in Finland, the paper reported.
Source: Rzeczpospolita, TVP Info, TVN 24