Two Arrested In Greece For Possession Of Impressive Arsenal

Law enforcement officers in Greece arrested two people after discovering a major weapons cache in their home. The 54-year-old man and 57-year-old woman were charged with weapons and explosives possession after officers found 29 firearms, 95 ammunition magazines, 158 pounds of gunpowder, 11 hand grenades, five mortar rounds, an improvised bomb, and over 35,000 rifle cartridges. Among the firearms were three submachine guns, 14 assault rifles, 11 handguns, and one shotgun.

Police say they are investigating where the weapons came from, why the couple had them, and whether they have any criminal history or links to terrorism.

The ownership and use of firearms are regulated in Greece, and people may only use a gun in self-defense or for hunting or sport. The country’s laws require gun owners to apply for a license and be able to prove that they are 18 years old, have no criminal record or history of mental illness, have passed a police background check, pass a medical and psychological examination, complete a firearms training course, and show a legitimate reason for owning the weapon.

Applications are made to local police departments, and if a license is granted, it can be used to purchase guns from a small number of suppliers. Violations of these laws can be punished severely, including lengthy prison terms, depending on the nature of the breach.

Around 22% of people own weapons in the country, and gun-related fatality figures are growing. A 2022 report placed Greece sixth in the world and second in Europe for firearms-related homicides, prompting officials to establish a new committee to investigate gun regulations and how effective these were. Criminologist Elena Syrmali said weapons offenses in Greece have moved beyond “the underworld.”

In Europe in 2021, Albania has the highest number of gun-related homicides, followed by Sweden in second place, Bosnia and Herzegovina in third place, with Moldova in fourth, and France in fifth. By 2023, Greece had replaced Sweden in the runner-up position.