People In Poland Are Learning How To Use Guns To Prepare Themselves For A Russian Invasion
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People in Poland are making a beeline to gun ranges to learn how to handle a firearm over fears they might be Russian President Vladimir Putin's next target after Ukraine.
The number of people coming to shoot guns has tripled at Strzelnica Warszawiank, a gun range in the Polish capital of Warsaw, and the vast majority of them are women.
Marcin Chewiński told VICE World News that people are so scared that they're picking up firearms for the first time in case they need to defend themselves.
"Due to Russia's invasion in Ukraine, there are more and more people wanting to learn how to use weapons and shoot," Chewiński told Vice.
"Due to Russia's invasion in Ukraine there are more and more people wanting to learn how to use weapons and learn how to shoot." @anyazoledz reports on how gun ranges in Poland are packed due to fears overRussia. pic.twitter.com/ocl722ICfy- VICE World News (@VICEWorldNews) March 24, 2022
"They're scared for their own family and themselves. They want to learn how to use weapons because it's unknown what will happen in Poland."
Chewiński added that Poland generally has 'the same weapons that Ukrainians or Russians have', which may be a comfort to civilians.
Unlike some of the more gun-touting nations, Polish gun laws are strict and it can take months to go through the required checks before a gun can be owned.
Chewiński told Vice that he believes the Polish government is likely to loosen gun regulations shortly, which will make it easier for his fellow countrymen to defend themselves if a Russian threat does arise.
"Of course to access weapons you'll have to get psychiatric clearance. You can't just show your ID and buy a weapon," he said.
Ukrainians have also been showing up at the shooting range during the early weeks of the invasion, requesting training so they could head out to the front line.
According to those already shooting at Strzelnica Warszawianka, more and more women have been showing up to the gun range to learn how to shoot Glocks and AK-47s.
"They want to know how to shoot, you know. In case anything happens then it's important to know how to operate weapons," 36-year-old Ania Bronowicka explained to VICE World News, who has already been shooting for six years.
She admitted that 'lately more and more' women are showing up to the range, adding it's a 'great idea for spending free time and to meet great people'.
:flag_pl::shield: The Polish has proposed simplifying gun ownership regulations and shortening the procedure for applying for a gun permit as Russia's attack on Ukraine has renewed discussions in Poland about the country's stringent gun ownership laws.- Heuvelrug Intelligence (@HillridgeOSINT) March 21, 2022
It's become so jam-packed with Poles keen to learn how to handle a weapon that she now has to call ahead if she wants to try her hand at target practice.
"It wasn't like that [previously]. Before there was always room," Bronowicka said.
It's not just Warsaw that has seen a spike in firearms interest.
In Włocławek, a city 150 kilometres out of Warsaw, a shooting range has been set up after hundreds panicked residents called for help when Russia initially invaded Ukraine four weeks ago, according to TVN.