Guns, violence and self-defense – a Hungarian perspective

We created an online survey and received 230 answers from young people mainly between the ages of 15-25 and the majority of them is living in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. We asked them about recent American school shootings, gun laws, and more theoretical topics like self-defence and public security.

Although, Hungarian media do not often talk about these questions, people showed interest in these topics. We discovered really different perspectives and heard quite heterogeneous opinions.

98% of people had already heard about recent (e. g. Floridan) school shootings and the majority of them thought that such incidents happen in the USA more often than anywhere else. We asked them to guess the number of casualties per shooting, the most frequent guess was 10.

78% of them agreed that the majority of American school shootings are consequences of loose gun regulations (see diagram on the left). Somebody added that lenient gun regulation is not the only cause that is responsible for these shootings,there are other factors like cultural atmosphere.

Hungarian gun laws are very strict as they only allow military, police, and hunting clubs to have guns. Most of the people said that they wouldn’t like if the government loosened these regulations. They also claimed that there would be more shooting accidents in Hungary if there were less strict gun laws. We found it interesting that people who identified themselves as rightist or far-right ideology supporters, sympathized with loose American gun regulations more than others (see diagram on the right).

Later, we asked people about self-defense and public security. A great majority of them agreed that it is a high priority task for a state to protect its citizens and to care about public safety. In addition, most of them claimed that public safety and the protection of people is a task that the state has to deal with, not the citizens themselves.

Ca. 60% of them believe that state organizations (police, laws, and courts) are meant to defend people. Despite this frequent opinion, people tend to think that these authorities cannot provide complete public safety and cannot perfectly protect citizens. We found this phenomenon really interesting (see diagrams below).

To sum up the results, the majority of people think that there is a clear correlation between loose gun regulations and the high number of American school shootings. Furthermore, most people in Hungary are content with strict domestic gun laws. Finally, we discovered that people believe the state is responsible for protecting them but they do not completely trust its ability to defend the citizens.

written by Lorinc F. – Edited by Myia M.