Greek extreme-right lawmaker triggers alarm as gun misfires at airport

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 5:36am


A Greek far-right lawmaker who wanted to travel with his licensed handgun on a domestic flight drew unwanted attention after the gun accidentally went off during check-in procedures.

Police said no one was hurt in the incident in a secluded area of Athens International Airport on Thursday.

But the gaffe drew broad condemnation from mainstream parties and prompted a quick government decision to review all gun licences granted to lawmakers.

About 50 of Greece's 300 lawmakers have such permits, in a country where legal gun ownership is uncommon and strictly regulated.

Authorities said Thursday's accident occurred in an office away from the busy airport's public areas, as Golden Dawn lawmaker Antonis Gregos was handing over the gun to airline officials.

Police have ordered an investigation into how a round was apparently left in the chamber after the ammunition clip was removed.

Nationalist and anti-immigrant Golden Dawn, which rejects the neo-Nazi label attached to it by mainstream parties and international rights groups, holds 18 of 300 seats in parliament. More than a dozen of its lawmakers are believed to hold gun permits, although police have declined to issue full details, citing security concerns.

A party lawmaker has been accused of trying to pull a handgun as he was being restrained by police guards after allegedly trying to punch the mayor of Athens this month.

A police official said authorities would now re-examine all politicians' gun permits to see why they were initially issued, what security concerns were cited and whether they are valid.

"They will also check whether the necessary psychiatric documentation has been submitted," the police official said.