Statement by former Vice-Head of Polish Internal Security Agency Jacek Mąka

Current legal framework, for both Polish Firearms and Ammunition Act, and additional executive acts, are quite precise in defining the rules for firearms transportation and carry. In reality, due to the very dynamic increase in firearms permits, they concentrate mostly on firearms licensed for sport use. It goes without saying, that the current legal status allows for especially short firearms (pistols) to be carried by rightful owners in other places than shooting ranges only. In this context I feel obliged to point our several practicalities connected with this situation. Firearms owners with sports’ permit must be fully aware of their increased responsibility if confronted with a situation, in a public place, when they might be forced to use their firearms. Putting terrorists’ threats aside, which becomes a kind of signum temporae in our current, also Polish, reality, we can quite easily imagine a very prosaic situations in which a holder of sport permit will find her or himself in the center of a criminal situation, which will warrant lawful usage of her or his firearm. Two things are crucial in this respect. Firstly – an absolute knowledge of legal rules connected with firearm usage (and I mean here, first and foremost the self defence aimed at direct, unlawful act of violence) and, which is of equal importance – practical and professional firearms handling skills in such situations. Which are inevitable connected with high stress, emotions etc. An actual and real life threatening situation on a street, at a shopping mall, at a cinema or in a public transportation, has very little in common with sport competitions held at a shooting ranges. It must be remembered that a paper target will not shoot back when we make a mistake, will not correct our mistake in another, painful way our lack of experience and ability to operate under high stress.

To sum up the above points, but to be consistent with my opinions on the subject of firearms in private citizens hands, I claim that legal firearms owners, including firearms for sport purposes may become an important and desirable element contributing positively to a public safety system in our country. Sine qua non condition – legal firearms owners must posses not only theoretical, but also practical knowledge and necessary experience, which would allow them, in such an extreme situation, for a fully legal and safe, for themselves and a public, usage of their firearms. The usage which will be bothersome and effective towards a perpetrator, which, by his behaviour, forced a legal firearms owner to take such actions. Any deviation from the above would most likely result in problems inflicted upon her or himself by a firearm owner, and in addition would increase, very wide already, group of firearms opponents.

– col. Jacek Mąka, Former Vice-Head of the Polish Internal Security Agency