A group of security professionals have called on the government of Finland to allow members of the public the right to armed self-defence, claiming police are not able to protect all citizens from violence.
The group Citizens’ Initiative has called on the government to introduce reforms to allow individual citizens to be licensed to carry firearms for self-defence purposes, arguing that many may be at risk of violence and that police may be unable to help them.
“If you look at the situation in Sweden, that’s where the trends come to Finland. We also have more than a dozen street gangs and they involve murder trials. This in itself is an indication that the security situation is deteriorating all the time,” the group’s organiser Seppo Vesala told broadcaster Yle.
Vesala also added that the war in Ukraine and the possibility of Russian aggression toward Finland also played a role in the group’s demand saying, “I think it is possible that Russia may launch a slightly more rigid hybrid operation towards Finland. This idea is also behind this.”
According to Vesala, his group wishes Finland to return to a more liberal policy on self-defence, stating that in the 1990s many people were able to acquire firearms licenses for the purposes of self-defence.
However, the group states that they want to make any self-defence firearms license more difficult to obtain than a license for other shooting activities, such as hunting.
WSJ: Gun Ownership on Rise in Europe After Terror Attacks, Sexual Assaults https://t.co/mA3K3fNkE3
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 8, 2019
Some, like Finnish police superintendent Jari Taponen, have rejected the demands of the group, calling them “absurd.”
“So, some “security professionals” are suggesting that citizens have the right to carry a gun in self-defence? An absurd proposal,” Taponen wrote on Twitter on Monday.
“If a weapon could be carried for emergency protection on the grounds of protection, the bearer should be able to recognize when and in which situation the use of the weapon would be permitted. I doubt the ability of civilians to make such a decision under pressure,” he said.
Firearms legislation differs widely across the European Union, with some countries such as the Czech Republic having liberal policies that allow the possession of firearms for self-defence purposes.
Last year, the Czech Senate voted to amend the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms to add the right to self-defence with a weapon following a petition campaign that managed to receive over 100,000 signatures.
HUGE news for liberty in the Czech Republic! https://t.co/Rnpj3yrjSy
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 24, 2021