For us, the Polish people, November 11th is a holiday. On November 11th, 1918, Jozef Pilsudskii was granted the military leadership by the Regency Council. On that day the German garrison in Warsaw has been disarmed. Jarogniew Drweski took over the city ofPoznan and the German armies began withdrawing from Poland. That is why today we, the Polish people, celebrate our National
For the Firearm enthusiast however, November 11th is a dark day. On November 11th, 1938, 3rd Reichs Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick announced the „Law against weapons possession by the Jews“, a law which largely reaffirmed the preexisting state of affairs (The registration/permit system put in place since 1928 allowed for de facto depriving Jews of gun ownership, before the ban took an official form.) Hence, September 11th makes every firearm enthusiast deeply concerned at the current legal attempts to change the regulations which are currently on their way in Brussels. Sadly, even as we celebrate our National Independence Day, in Brussels an EU directive is being drafted, intended to tighten the already severe gun regulations even further. The directive is going to dictate what Polish people, among others, will be allowed to own in their homes.
The prelude was the poll, published on the European Commission’s website, which reminds of the old jokes about Communist schoolsessays topics „Who is Your Idol and why Lenin?“ Not a single question allowed an answer like e.g. „The regulations are already too tight“. All one could do was choose how much they ought to be tightened (or choose „no opinion“). The total of 85 thousand people have participaded, and to the leading commissioner’s, Cecilia Malmström’s, dismay, they have proven that they are not grown up enough to participate in democracy, since approximately 80% felt that the gun threat is not very serious and that further regulations are unnecessary. The poll results had therefore to be put aside and ad acta. Another biased poll was launched, and while only 25 thousand people took part in it, at least this time it was finally possible to bend it’s result to fit the pre-arranged notion. Just as long as 50% of the participants feel that gun crime rate is significant, let’s just ignore the other 50% who claim the opposite. Be that as it may, the less popular poll proved sufficient for the commissioner Cecilia Malmström to announce that the new directive is under way.
The assumptions contained in the new directive are simple. To forbid, to restrict, to ban, to destroy in general. Of course it has been disguised in much nicer language, using phrases like „public safety“. The semi-automatic weapons which are used by sportsmen and hunters, are to be banned or at least even more heavily restricted. Magazines are to be given a capacity limit and they are going to become an essential part of a weapon. Meaning they will require a permit to own. Even the ornamental or ceremonial weapons are to banned wherever possible. In long term, thecollectors are to be forced to secure their usually antique items, and the law is to be changed so that legally owned weapons are to be stored in central warehouses.
Even the air-gunners are going to get hit pretty badly. The weapon sales over the internet are to be banned (it does not matter that even today,buying weapons on the internet you are already legally required to provide the seller with all the necessary documents, and picking up the weapon items in person is often the only alternative.) All those propositions might still appear logical to an outsider, however. The question is what effect, if any, is this going to have on the crime rate?
In the whole firearm debate, solid facts are seldom used by the firearm-opponents. Mostly because they have none. Not a single example to prove that stricter regulations translate to the reduction of crime. On the contrary. We can refer to Australia’s example, where in the aftermath of the Port Arthur Massacre (1996), the Government has introduced severe restrictions in gun laws. 680thousand firearms were handed in by the honest citizens. The dishonest ones had different uses for theirs, however. Since 1996, the number of gun homicides increased by 19%, the number of armed robberies increased by 69% and the number ofhome invasions increased by 21%. The effects of introducing stricter gun laws in Great Britain have been similar. A 25% increase in gun crimes since particularly severe gun laws were introduced. No relation exists between the number of firearms in private hands in various countries and the crime rate. Among countries with low crime,we can find Switzerland, with one of the highest gun ownerships in Europe, and Poland, with the second lowest gun ownership in Europe, after Lithuania and Romania. Paradoxically, the only European country with a murder rate per capita higher than in the USA is none other than Lithuania.We can conclude therefore, based on the data we possess, that disarming the society either has no effect on the crime rate, or it may even lead to increase thereof. The criminals act outside the legal limitations and they will always get their weapon. Even in a country with laws so restrictive as Poland’s, 10 gun crimes are perpetrated each week, in the year 2011 alone, the Police confiscated 1491 firearms, among which 79 were homemade. People such as Brunon K. continue buying firearms on the urban market. For example a man from Legnica, who used an AK-47 to scare away the ‚too-noisy‛ amateurs of cheap wine, bought it illegaly on the marketplace along with an ammunition supply for 700 Euros.
Analyzing the September attack on the mall in Nairobi/Kenya, the head of Interpol came to similar conclusions. Due to the fact that the terrorists were the only ones to be armed, at least 67 people were killed. The Secretary General of Interpol, Ronald Noble, said in his interview with ABC News that trade centres constitute „easy targets‛ for the terrorists due to the fact that they are poorly protected and they attract large numbers of unarmed people. He added that there exist only two ways to avoid such an attack. Either to create safe buffer zones around those places, or to allow the citizens to carry their own weapons, so that in case of an attack they can defend themselves. While Ronald Noble’s words concerned directly the attack in Nairobi its hard not to see the analogy to American massacres which just happen to be happening almost exclusively in the so called ‚gun-free zones‛, i.e. the places where an attacker is almost guaranteed to be the only one armed. It’s worth mentioning that the Aurora Mall massacre where only the attacker was armed and compare it to an earlier (and totally obscure) massacre in the town of Aurora… which never happened. The Car park where it wouldhave happened wasn’t a ‚gun-free zone‛ and the attacker was shot almost immediately by an armed civilian. In referring to that type ofsituation Ronald Noble, demands:‚Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would thoseguys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?‛‘ He adds:‘ Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?’ This is something that has to be discussed.‛ Noble’s words are reaffirmed by the fact, that according to American statistics, a police officer who fires a gun is 5 times more likely to make a mistake than an ordinary citizen. And it’s not due to lack of training, it is due to simple fact, that an ordinary citizen is reaching for his gun during the course of the crime, taking action on sight of the criminal, just like that random passer-by in the Aurora car park. If there happens to be no such person, the police will arrive more than ten minutes later and they will have to act without full recon. The attacker from Aurora Mall nearly managed to walk away unmolested by saying to apolice officer that he was an FBI agent working undercover.
The arguments of the Secretary General seem unlikely to be noticed by Ms. Malmström. That doesn’t mean however, that her plans will meet no opposition. This is where we, the Polish People have something to beproud of. It’s by ROMB2 initiative, that the „Firearms United‛ initiative was launched. It’s aim is cooperation of all European associations and federations eager to oppose the commissioner’s plans. In the 12 days of its presence on Facebook, the initiative gathered over 1300 established contacts with organizations from Germany, Slovakia, Great Britain,Ireland, and other countries. The chairman deputy issued a thank you note to the secretary General of Interpol Mr Ronald Noble for highlighting the ‚soft target‛ problem. The initiative is encouraging exchange of materials and information. ROMB2 is being provided significant amount of material by the German Rifle Association activist Katja Triebel. Soon they are going to be translated into Polish and distributed among other shooters. Should any EU citizen want to express his or her protest against commissioner’s Malmström plans, full info on how to do it will be presented soon on www.firearms-united.eu as well as on the websites of our associates.The Infamous September the 11th 1938 we mentioned earlier may not happen again. And no one is suggesting that it is Cecilia Malmström’s goal. We do remember, however, that the Reichstag MP’s in 1928 were unaware, even as they were introducing the new gun permit system, what the consequences would be. Now, decades of legislative experiments later, we have the facts allowing us to make conclusions. Sadly those facts are forcing us to approach the commissioner Cecilia Malmström’s ideas with apprehension.