A growing number of Poles are purchasing guns, police statistics show.
In 2017, the number of firearms held by Poles rose to around 464,000, according to a newspaper.
Most of these weapons have been purchased as collector’s items, which are easier to obtain in Poland than guns for personal use, the Rzeczpospolita daily reported.
In 2017, the number of licences issued for collectible weapons doubled compared to 2016, police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka said.
Last year, Polish firearms licence holders, numbering 206,000, possessed a total of 464,000 weapons, 82,000 more than in 2014, according to police statistics.
In 2017, licences issued for collectible weapons outnumbered licences issued for hunting weapons. In 2014, around 600 licences were granted for collectible weapons, while in 2017 the figure rose to 5,000.
“Licences for collectible weapons are much easier to obtain than, say, weapons for personal use, which can be accessed only when there is an objective threat to one’s security,” said policeman Andrzej Borowiak.
There is no such requirement for collectible weapons. “There are formal requirements to be met, such as a clean criminal record and good mental health,” said Andrzej Turczyn from the Citizen Gun Enthusiast Movement.
Poles applying for guns also need to “be at least 21 years old, belong to a collectible weapon association and pass an exam,” he added.
Gun regulations were liberalised in Poland in 2011, however, only in recent years has there been an explosion of interest in collectible firearms, owing to efforts by gun associations to spread information about the legal changes, Rzeczpospolita said.