Serbia has been stockpiling firearms, more than any other European country. Why is this?
No one really knows how many illegal guns are being hidden in Serbian homes. Many of the firearms are from the Yugoslav wars in 1990 that have been passed down. In fact, many of the guns that are in possession are ones that have been passed down, and if you asked them, the owners could not even tell you exactly where it came from.
Why are they saving and stockpiling them? Guns are seen as a sign of power in Serbia.
“There is a long-established gun culture here,” says Predrag Petrovic from the Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP), a Serbian NGO. “One sees it at celebrations, where people regularly shoot into the air. Guns are still thought of as status symbols, as a sign of power.” The instability of the region has fueled the feeling that one need be able to defend oneself, he told DW. Petrovic also criticizes ruling conservatives in the Balkans, whom he says have been promoting a “delusion of persecution” – spreading rumors of suspected foreign agents or the threat of government overthrow in order to mobilize their voters. “That all scares people,” he says.