Europe has some of the most strict gun control laws on the planet. But the growing number of “lone wolf” Islamic terrorist attacks since 2015 has some West European politicians seeking to change the gun control laws to make it easier for citizens to own guns. One of the points in favor of doing so is what happened to gun control laws in East Europe after 1990 once the communist government there collapsed. Most East European countries adopted much less stringent controls on citizens having weapons. The reason for this was simple. Under communist rule civilians were basically disarmed and that was remembered by those who lived through the Hungarian revolution of 1956, the Czech one of 1968 and the Polish unrest in the 1980s that almost led to a Russian invasion. Eventually the communist governments of Russia and East Europe concluded that even a disarmed population was eventually too dangerous to rule over. Many newly liberated East Europeans voted to make it much easier for them to own weapons and West Europeans were often surprised to note the newly opened gun stores in East Europe and how busy they were.
The average East European citizen understood that the communist era disarmament wasn’t for the “safety of the people” but to help keep unpopular communist dictatorships in power. So in the 1990s East Europeans generally agreed that more firearms owned by the law-abiding population means less threat from outlaws, be they terrorists or a tyrannical government. It’s also been noted that there has been much less Islamic terrorist violence in East Europe. Intelligence agencies noted that the Islamic terrorist Internet chatter indicated that there is awareness that some countries are “safer” for terror attacks than others in large part because of local attitudes and the number of legal firearms the population has. Israel is the most extreme example of this despite Israel being a primary target for Islamic terrorists since the 1960s. Despite the East European experience most West European governments want to increase restrictions on legal ownership of guns for their citizens.