In terms of personal protection, Poles are among the least armed nations in Europe, with only over 35,000 registered for this purpose, and the issuance of permits for personal protection weapons is also very limited, with only 81 permits issued last year. However, when it comes to hunting, sports, and collector’s weapons, the situation is different.
Poland it is required to have a legal permit to possess a gun. The conditions for obtaining a weapons permit are regulated by the Law of May 21, 1999, which states that the competent police authority may grant a permit if the applicant does not pose a threat to himself, public order, or safety, and has a valid reason for owning a weapon. The reasons for obtaining a permit can be diverse, ranging from personal protection and protection of persons or property, to hunting, sports, collecting, commemorative events, training, and historical reenactments.
Some time ago, a friend of mine was applying for his gun license. I remember him being a bit anxious about the entire process. With Poland having some of the strictest gun laws in Europe, he knew he had to make sure everything was done right. But, in the end, it was a relatively simple process, as long as you met the requirements and presented a valid reason for owning a weapon.
Requirements for Obtaining a Gun License
Acquiring a gun license is not a straightforward process, as it involves more than just passing a theoretical and practical exam to demonstrate knowledge of the law and proficiency in handling firearms. The process also incurs associated costs, and a valid reason for obtaining the permit needs to be presented.
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According to the Code of Administrative Procedure, the entire procedure should last no longer than a month, although it may be extended in the case of missing documentation. Additionally, an environmental interview is required, which is conducted by a district officer in the relevant unit.
During this time, a background check is conducted to determine if the applicant has any criminal history. Once all documentation is complete, the command can proceed with the proceedings.
How Much Does a Gun License Cost?
Acquiring a firearms license is associated with relatively high costs that can vary significantly. While the stamp duty necessary to submit an application remains constant at PLN 242, the costs of examinations can range from PLN 100 to even PLN 1,000, depending on the purpose of the weapon.
Additionally, there are expenses for medical and psychological examinations, with the maximum remuneration for medical examinations capped at 15% of the average remuneration in the national economy in the preceding calendar year, which is PLN 607.08 in 2017. The costs of both medical and psychological examinations typically range from PLN 100 to PLN 200.
Physical fitness tests for firearms license applicants are comparable to those encountered in driving courses, while psychological tests consist of a simple conversation and are not as complicated as psychological evaluations for police candidates.
Types of Gun Licenses in Poland
There are eight valid reasons for obtaining a firearms license in Poland:
- Personal protection
- Protection of persons and property
- Historical reconstruction
Who Can Obtain a Gun License in Poland
In Poland, to acquire the right to own a firearm, a person must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Have a permanent place of residence in Poland.
- Obtain a medical certificate confirming their physical and mental capacity to handle a firearm.
- Have no criminal record; they cannot have been convicted of a crime by a final court decision.
- Be free of addiction to alcohol or psychoactive substances.
- Provide a valid reason for wanting to own a firearm.
Documents required based on the weapon purpose
|Purpose of Weapon
|A document indicating the presence of a permanent, real and above-average threat to life, health or property
|Certificate of the regional board of the Polish Hunting Association confirming the possession of authorization to perform hunting, Certificate of the regional board of the Polish Hunting Association confirming membership in PZŁ, other required confirmations, certificates or licenses depending on the type of weapon
|Certificate confirming membership in a shooting club or sports association, a document of the Polish Sport Shooting Association confirming the possession of sports qualifications, PZSS license
|Certificate confirming membership in an association whose statutory purpose is to organize historical re-enactments, certificate confirming active participation in the statutory activities of the association
|Certificate confirming membership in a collector’s association
|Document confirming the acquisition of weapons by inheritance, donation or distinction
|Document confirming the possession of the authorizations specified in separate regulations to conduct shooting training and documented registration of business activity in the field of shooting training.
How Long Is a Gun Permit Valid in Poland?
If you have been granted an administrative permit to own a firearm, you are required to present a medical and psychological certificate every 5 years to confirm the following:
- Absence of mental disorders or limited mental and physical functioning.
- Absence of significant disorders of psychological functioning.
- No addictions to alcohol or psychoactive substances.
Note: if a person in possession of a firearm changes their permanent residence, they must notify the regional police commander in accordance with their new place of residence within 14 days.
How Many People in Poland Have Gun?
According to the official police records for 2021, the number of gun permits issued in Poland has increased significantly. 19,939 permits were issued, which is more than 4,000 more than in the previous two years (2020 and 2019). In addition, more than 70,000 firearms were registered. This is a substantial increase compared to the previous year.
The majority of the 19,939 permits issued were for collection purposes with 9,233 permits, followed by sport purposes of 6,806 permits. Permits for hunting purposes were issued to 3,676 applicants, while only 113 for training purposes. It should be noted that only 81 permits were issued for personal protection, which is a relatively small number when compared to the total number of permits issued.
Possessing Firearms Without a Permit in Poland – Legal Consequences
According to Article 263 of the Polish Criminal Code, manufacturing or trading in firearms or ammunition without the required permit can result in imprisonment for one to ten years. Possession of firearms or ammunition without a permit may result in imprisonment ranging from six months to eight years.
Providing firearms or ammunition to an unauthorized person, even if the person is authorized to possess them, may result in a fine, restricted freedome, or imprisonment for up to two years. If you unintentionally cause the loss of a firearm or ammunition that is lawfully possessed by you or someone else can result in a fine, imprisonment, or both for up to one year.
In summary, the consequences for the manufacture, trade, or possession of firearms without a permit in Poland are severe and can result in imprisonment or fines.
Types of Guns That Do Not Require a Permit in Poland
Firearms without a permit are quite readily available in Poland. Any full citizen of the country can own a firearm without being a member of a shooting club. Yes, that is correct!
According to current legislation, full citizens are allowed to own a separable-loading firearm manufactured before 1885, as well as replicas of such weapons. This means that replicas of pistols and rifles made before the end of the 19th century can be found on the market, made according to the smallest details, and can be legally purchased.
However, it is important to understand that despite the availability of firearms, buying gunpowder for them is not so easy anymore. In order to make such a purchase, one must be a holder of a European firearms card for black-powder weapons.
In recent years, not only history lovers, but also people who, for various reasons, want to own their own pistol or rifle, have become more and more interested in black-powder weapons or historical weapons, which do not require a permit in Poland.
Black-Powder Guns – Legal and Without Permits
Let’s take a closer look at the firearms that can be found in gun stores. If you are a shooting enthusiast, you have the option of purchasing your dream guns both in-store and online. Most gun stores offer a variety of firearms, including black rifle pistols, revolvers, black rifles, and shotguns.
You will find that many stores offer finely crafted replicas, such as pistols and revolvers that allow you to feel the atmosphere of the Wild West, and rifles that take you to the time of the Civil War. This is a real treat not only for historical re-enactors, but for any gun enthusiast.
No wonder that in Poland, where certain weapons are available without a permit, these firearms are very popular. This solution makes it possible for anyone to buy new „toys” for his arsenal in an affordable and legal way.
In Europe, Poles are among the least armed nations when it comes to personal protection weapons. Currently, there are just over 35,000 registered for this purpose, and last year only 81 permits were issued for personal protection weapons. The situation is different when it comes to hunting, sporting, or collectors’ weapons.
This trend may soon change if a new bill is passed that aims to simplify the process of obtaining a permit. The draft law on weapons and ammunition, proposed by a group of deputies, has been submitted to the Sejm. The proposed changes aim to „make firearms more accessible to law-abiding citizens of legal age and sound mental health”. The main change is to move away from the subjective discretion of the authority issuing a gun permit and to establish objective, clear, and rational criteria for issuing a gun permit.