Sa, 2.12.2023

Editorial: Estonians up in arms

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Photo: Urmas Nemvalts

Estonia has above 27,000 weapons owners in possession of some 68,000 hunting, sports and self defence guns. Initial applications for permits are sharply up this year with six month figures exceeding 2012 and nearly equaling 2013 totals. The reasons vary from the EU trend towards toughening gun laws to the added sense of security. 

Doubtless, the insecurity is increasing due to world events pointing towards further military conflicts and the acts of Islamic terror in Western Europe.

Not limited to Estonia, sales of weapons and other self-defence gear is up elsewhere in Central Europe as well as in France and Belgium.

In several nations in Europe like the UK and Holland, lawmakers have made it next to impossible for private persons to obtain guns and ammo. Even so, in wake of the recent acts of terror, voices are increasingly calling – in the situation with uncontrolled immigrants flooding the European Union and the governments unable to guarantee safety of citizens as before – to not toughen but altogether soften gun ownership laws.   

In Israel, for instance, civilians have indeed avoided terrorist acts with own guns. Would the same results be shown in Europe, difficult to tell.

The arguments come as they do, pro and con. No matter how good a law, life is not a 100 percent regulated and firearms may happen in the arms of people unfit or psychologically unstable, or be lost or stolen – as, say statistics, it also happens in Estonia.

Meanwhile, statistics also serve to prove the opposite: the more self-defence guns in private ownership, the lower the criminal activity – no crook wants to take the risk.

A study conducted in prisons of the USA had 60 percent of inmates say that they would have given up committing their crime in case of even the theoretical possibility of the victim being armed to fight back.