By Lefteris Yallouros – Athens
This is the question the nation faces following a series of incidents involving MP’s carrying firearms in recent weeks.
On Thursday, the pistol of Greek MP Antonis Gregos backfired during a check – in procedure at the Athens International Airport. The Neo Nazi “Golden Dawn” Party member is a licensed gun holder. According to the MP, it was being handled by an official when it fired into the ground, without causing injuries.
MPs from across Greece’s political spectrum now admit they are licensed gun holders. The press made public a list of deputies allowed to possess guns, bearing names from all parties except the Democratic Left “DIMAR”.
After a series of physical and verbal attacks in public MP’s claim they carry arms as means of – last resort – self defence.
In Greece, parliamentarians can obtain a license fairly easily. Until now, nothing apparently kept them from walking armed into legislative sessions. However, many are worried that, with tempers in meltdown, violence could potentially erupt inside the House.
Nikos Dendias, the public order minister, said Thursday the police will now re-evaluate all permits.
Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis recently said guns will not be allowed inside the Parliament building any longer.
The debate so far focuses on whether or not it should be left up to the “moral judgment” of each parliament member to decide whether or not they should enter the parliament building bearing arms.
However, more voices are coming out in favor of revoking arms-bearing privileges for MP’s altogether. The Press now asks: Why should legislators enjoy more lenient handgun privileges than the average Greek?
In a country as ideologically divided as Greece and with support for Neo – Nazi’s on the rise, members of parliament ought to put across the message that guns have no place in democratic societies, common sentiment in Greece seems to be.