• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Austria considers arming police with private handguns

The Local · 23 Mar 2016, 12:22

Published: 23 Mar 2016 12:22 GMT+01:00

The announcement follows the news that gun sales in Austria have been booming, particularly of shotguns which can be sold without a licence. Breakdown of statistics revealed that most of the new buyers of guns were either women or police officers.

The revelation that men and women who are on the frontline fighting crime are buying guns is regarded as particularly worrying, and now the Interior Ministry is seriously considering providing all police officers with a weapon pass.

They would then be able to act in the event of a terrorist attack even in their free time.

Police chiefs and ministry officials feel that if handguns are going to be on the streets then they should be in the hands of qualified law enforcement officials who know how to use them and have been properly trained.

It would mean 28,000 weapon passes could be issued for the existing officers. The reason for the decision stemmed from the apparent refusal of a weapon pass to a police officer in Lower Austria because he was unable to provide evidence that he wanted to tackle a "concrete threat".

The idea also started being considered after it was revealed that it was not legally possible to allow police officers to take their service firearms home with them. In addition, the service pistol, which is a Glock 17, is regarded as too large a weapon to carry easily concealed.

By equipping officers with private firearms, there would effectively be the possibility of having somebody on the ground in the event of a terrorist or other type of attack.

The suggestion by the officials, which was made before the recent attacks in Brussels, is that if armed police had been on hand when attacks such as those in Paris or Australia happened, the damage could have potentially been reduced.

For example, local media suggested that the massacre at the Bataclan in Paris could have been met with more of an immediate response, given that unarmed police officers were reportedly among the crowd.

In Sydney, a suspected jihadist had managed to keep 18 hostages for 16 hours and two of them were eventually killed when police staged a rescue.

Story courtesy of Central European News

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Salzburg Festival: 'soul food in troubled times'
The festivla director Helga Rabl-Stadler and president Sven-Eric Bechtolf. Photo: Salzburger Festspiele / Luigi Caputo

The Salzburg Festival kicked off on Thursday, with organisers hoping the classical arts extravaganza would give visitors some respite from the "troubled times" Europe is facing.

Austrian festival ups security in wake of attacks
Photo: Lake Festival

Organisers of a festival in Austria expected to see hundreds of thousands of visitors say they have tightened security at the site following recent terror attacks around Europe.

Mystery priest skull and hat discovered in Austria
Photo: ORF screengrab

A priest carrying out renovation work on a church in Austria was surprised to discover a skull that could be up to 900 years old buried in a hidden wall cavity.

Opinion
Austrian case offers British expats hope after Brexit
Jose Manuel Mota/Creative Commons

A legal case concerning an Austrian who gained then lost German citizenship might offer hope to British expats concerned about residency rights following Brexit.

Linz ordered to pay €9 million for lost Klimt and Schiele art
One of Egon Schiele’s paintings in his Tote Stadt series. Image: Wikimedia

The city of Linz has been ordered by Austria’s highest court to pay nearly €9 million to the heirs of an art collector after losing four pieces of artwork she owned by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Terror conspiracy suspects to be extradited
Linz High Court. Photo: www.justiz.gv.at

Austria is to hand over to France two suspected members of the same Islamic State group unit who massacred 130 people in Paris last November, officials and media reports said Wednesday.

Austrian fires blanks at asylum seekers from car
Photo: Paul Gillngwater

Two brothers in Austria may face charges after one of them leaned out the car they were both travelling in and shot at two asylum seekers walking on the pavement.

Firemen battle intense storms in Upper Austria
a.dombrowski/Creative Commons

Hundreds of firemen were out in Upper Austria last night after the region was hit by stormy and “dramatic” weather.

Baby tests negative for drugs after licking foil
Photo: OeAMTC

A baby that was flown to intensive care after licking a piece of aluminium foil thought to have LSD or cocaine on it has tested negative for drugs.

Austrians spend big on meat, leisure time...and sex toys
Photo: www.sexshopno1.at

A study of what Austrian households like to spend their money on has revealed they splash out more on sex toys than they do on professional development.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
2,491
jobs available