Far-right Vox party wants to loosen Spain's gun laws

In an interview published on Wednesday in the weapons website armas.es, Santiago Abascal insists that “the concept of legitimate self-defence needs to be widened” in Spain.

The politician’s love of firearms is no secret as he has spoken openly of carrying a pistol to protect his family when it was considered a target by Basque militant group ETA.

But the 42-year-old Vox leader has now made it a campaign point ahead of the elections on April 28.

He argues that Spain’s current laws protect the criminal over the homeowner and cited several high profile cases of those who have been jailed after killing people who broke into their property.

“We need an urgent radical change in the law, not only so that the Spaniards without criminal records and in full use of their mental faculties can keep a weapon in their house,” Abascal said in the interview.

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Santiago Abascal, leader of Vox, on the campaign trail. Photo: AFP

“But so that they can use it in real life-threatening situations without fear of facing a judicial nightmare, prison sentences or even the prospect of having to pay compensation to the relatives of criminals who assaulted them,” he explained.

He cited the cases of a man in his 80s who was sent to jail after shooting an assailant who broke into his home in Tenerife and attacked his wife. He also mentioned the case of a policeman who is currently facing trial after shooting dead one of a gang of five who broke into his property.

Vox is a staunchly pro-hunting party that has railed against animal rights activists.”They demonize the rural world and seek to put man and beast on an equal footing,” Abascal said in the interview.

Vox has vowed to end subsidies to animal rights groups that protest against hunting. "Vox believes that hunting is not just a necessary economic activity, but is needed to control certain populations of animals that do not have predators and that destroy crops and cattle,” he said.

Under current laws in Spain, possession of firearms is allowed only with a licence, which are strictly regulated.

Licences are only issued to those over 18 years who pass a theory test, a practical exam as well as a psychometric evaluation and only for specific types of firearms.

These include rifles for hunting and sports purposes and pistols/revolves with permits issued to security guards and those who require special protection.

Historic guns also require special permits.

According to data from 2016, some 8,000 Spanish civilians are authorized to carry a gun for self-defense after providing proof they are at risk.

But Spain has another three million registered arms, belonging to 1.1 million civilians, most of whom have ostensibly bought their weapons for hunting, target shooting or as collector’s items.

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