Hungary to have looser gun control laws
The workers of the organizations that belong to the Ministry of Interior might have an easier access to self-defense guns, magyaridok.hu writes. According to a new law, employees could keep their guns, even if they are not on duty; this would apply to employees of the police force, the National Protective Service (NVSz), and the Constitution Protection Office (AH).
Magyaridok.hu is referring to a letter signed by State Secretary for Law Enforcement László Tasnádi, which says that the Ministry is currently trying to estimate whether workers would like to have access to self-defense guns off duty. Heads of the organizations are asked to take sides and name those who should have access to their weapons off duty. Suggestions were expected to be made until May 11.
So far, the Ministry of Interior did not support any laws that advocated looser self-defense gun laws; Tasnádi also mentioned this in his letter, saying that the initial aim was to extend the use of service guns off duty.
János Csóti, Director General of the Hungarian Prison Service, Zoltán Bolcsik, Director General of the National Protective Service, János Hajdu, Director General of the Counter Terrorism Centre, Szabolcs Tóth, Vice Director General of the Coordination Centre Against Organised Crime, Hedvig Szabó, Director General of the Special Service for National Security, Sándor Gömbös, Police Major General, Police Chief Advisor, and Head of Cabinet Office, and Zoltán Kiss, Director General of the Constitution Protection Office all received a copy of the letter.
The Secretary of State also emphasized that the matter needs thorough investigation and the number of people who have access to self-defense guns off duty should be kept as low as possible.
It seems that members of the law enforcement are also divided on the question; some would prefer looser laws, but some are heavily against it. However, if the majority supports the change, the Ministry of Interior will initiate a separate government law on the issue.
This may not be the best time to promote looser gun control laws, as it was only three months ago, in February 2016, that a policewoman in District XVIII. killed her child and then committed suicide, using her service gun.
Magyaridok.hu has earlier asked Erika Szeles, leading psychologist of the Hungarian police force, on the matter of letting officers keep their guns off duty. Szeles said that, in the past couple of years, there were only 2-3 occasions when an officer committed suicide with his service gun, which is relatively low, given that currently there are 40,000 officers in Hungary. In contrast, this number is much higher among civilians: there are 21 suicides for every 100,000 citizens.
Copy editor: bm