The triple murder that opened the issue of gun ownership in Greece

What do the data on the firearms license and illegal weapons in our country show?

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Giannis Kemmos

It was December 2017 when a triple murder in Agios Anargyros had shocked the whole of Greece and had opened a big discussion about weapons - gun ownership in Greece for all citizens, including uniformed members of the Security Forces and retired military personnel, as is the case in European countries and the United States.

The perpetrator is a police officer who shot and killed his wife, his three-year-old daughter and his mother-in-law with his gun, and then ended his life, thus writing the epilogue of the tragedy.

The details that had seen the light of day were shocking. The perpetrator a few hours before the brutal murder had gone for a walk with his three-year-old daughter. As a father and daughter, they enjoyed their walk in a nearby park, while according to eyewitnesses, he had bought her sweets from a local pastry shop.

Everything seemed normal and nothing foretold what would follow that fateful night.

Family disputes that the perpetrator had with his wife and mother-in-law recently but also an intense quarrel between them that night, armed his hand and broke up his family.

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The perpetrator, after first shooting his wife in the chest, chased and shot his mother-in-law in the living room of the apartment. The blood of the two women watered the floor.

But the curtain had not yet fallen. The unthinkable tragedy ended in the bedroom of his little daughter where he slept surrendered in the arms of Morpheus. He raised his weapon and executed his angel with a bullet to the head.

What was left for him? To keep his last sphere to himself. He knelt next to his child's lifeless body, covered it with a sheet and ended his life.

A man who had sworn to serve the law, became a murderer killing even his gut. Unfortunately this is not the only case where someone has taken lives with a gun either possessing it legally or illegally.

The crime in Elliniko, with the perpetrator being an elderly Air Force retiree who shot his wife with a gun at noon one day, or the murder with two bullets of a young man outside a bar in Piraeus for an insignificant reason, confirm that there is a huge gun problem recent years in the country, as the incidents are many and the victims… more.

This was the occasion to open the file "possession of weapons - carrying weapons" in Greece and to investigate what is really happening.

  • What does the law provide? Is it easy to get a gun permit?
  • Are incumbent police officers obliged to leave their service weapon at their service after the end of their work or are they given the right to take it home with them?
  • What does the law provide for retired military personnel and their pensioners security bodies;
  • And of course, how much are they? illegal weapons in our country and how easily can one get them on the black market?

Is it easy to get a gun legally?

The answer to the above question is no. Since May 2016, when the terms and conditions for obtaining a firearms license were amended under a directive of the European Parliament, the licensing process has become more stringent.

In Greece, firearms licenses for personal security are granted by EL.AS with the consent of the Public Prosecutor and a Certificate of a neurologist-psychiatrist or physician from which the state of mental health of the person concerned emerges. He also needs to provide a full copy of his criminal record, a responsible statement that he is not a fugitive, and proof that there are very serious reasons for his safety. That is, his life is in danger.

Then he has to give written exams, answer a special questionnaire about the solution, grouting, filling, filling, safe use, safe transport and storage of the requested weapon.

Although the process seems easy, according to a senior officer of the Hellenic Police, most of the time the permit is not issued and "stumbles" on the prosecutor who is not convinced that the applicant is really in danger.

However, what is really impressive is that in the Official Gazette on the possession of weapons, which is published in the government newspaper and is a law of the state, nowhere is it mentioned that the person concerned must know about shooting.

To have attended classes and to be examined in this part as well. As if you are taking an exam for a driving license and that is, you are not being examined in driving except in the signals.

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What about active police officers?

"The policeman owns and carries the weapon, for which he has been trained, as long as he is deemed physically and mentally fit. The service individual weapon is always carried during its service, and it is allowed to be carried outside it as well. The police officer does not carry weapons during his service only upon a relevant order ".

This is stated in the law on "Arms, use of firearms by police officers" while allowing the use of weapons by police personnel, special guards and border guards of the Greek Police.

Are law enforcement retirees and retirees required to surrender their weapons?

No law obliges them when they retire due to retirement to surrender their personal weapon, as long as they apply for a firearms license to continue to possess it legally.

The arms black market is… booming

"The more crime increases, the more it will flourish black market", Typically says a man who is legally involved in the arms trade while explaining that on the black market there are weapons for every taste and for all wallets.

"In recent years, mainly in the periphery, many people are buying 'black weapons' in order to defend their family and property," he tells us. Illegal weapons come to our country either by road from the Balkans or by sea from the Mediterranean.

The arms smugglers however, it seems that they prefer to bring them by sea, as in recent years strict controls at customs and pedestrian patrols by border guards have closed the passageways to Greece.

The most common weapons in the black market of Greece are Kalashnikov which are mainly preferred by criminals who intend to commit major crimes and Tokarev which is a small pistol of Russian origin easy and easy to use.

Used Kalashnikovs do not exceed 1.000 euros in price, while if one wants to buy a new, "virgin" as they say in the arms market, one should have about 3.000 euros. As for Tokarev, its cost on the black market ranges from 800-2.500 euros.

According to an EL.AS official, official data on how many illegal weapons are hidden in houses all over Greece do not exist, as they are not measurable in statistics or even in records and any assessment will be risky, he stressed.

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