AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Throughout most of Europe, guns are reserved for the very few and even then, mostly for hunting. The idea of self-defense is strongly discouraged in a population that’s still used to monarchs and dictators. The idea of the individual having rights is still a relatively new concept when compared to the cultural history of European nations.
However, a Spanish party is openly calling for citizens to be permitted to carry firearms, explicitly for self-defense purposes.
A far-right party is making political waves in Spain by advocating looser gun control laws and recruiting retired military officers as candidates in a parliamentary election next month.Vox party leader Santiago Abascal said Spaniards should be allowed to keep firearms at home and to use them in “real life-threatening situations” without fear of legal consequences. Spain currently allows civilians to possess guns only for sporting purposes.
“Our laws treat criminals like victims and honest citizens like criminals,” Abascal told armas.es, a website specializing in weapons, in an interview Wednesday.
Abascal, 42, has bragged about carrying a handgun himself. The politician was born and raised in the northern Basque region, where his family was for years a target of separatist militant group ETA. He has a special gun license given on a case by case basis for professional or personal safety.
Public opinion polls are predicting Vox will win a significant number of seats in the House of Deputies, the lower chamber in Spain’s parliament. The party said this week it had enlisted at least five former army generals to run in the April 28 election.
Vox has been capitalizing on what seems to be a growing stream of Spanish nationalism. That alone has many on the Spanish left concerned. After all, nationalism is a dirty word in most of Europe.
It’s probably not helping Vox’s case that Spain is a pretty safe nation. Many may wonder why they need a gun when there’s little crime.
However, that’s the catch-22 of gun control. If the community is safe, you don’t need guns. If it’s unsafe, you have too many.
That inconsistency exists primarily because they don’t understand what makes people safe. The assumption is that no guns mean safety, but no safety automatically means too many firearms. It can’t mean anything else.
The problem is that for the individual, Spain may be very dangerous. People carrying large sums of money, women who work late at night and have to walk home alone in the dark, these are just a couple of the potential scenarios for those who may feel horribly unsafe on Spanish streets. In fact, they probably are unsafe.
Vox apparently wants to allow these people to exercise their natural right to self-defense. This is a good thing, and I wish them well.
I’m not holding my breath on them being successful, though. They’re a relatively minor party from what I can tell, and while they may gain a number of seats, they’re still not going to have enough to change that aspect of Spanish law.
Still, I wish them luck.