Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro made the surprising remark after a gust of wind revealed he carries a gun in his belt.
Ziebro was laying a wreath at a memorial for victims of mining disasters in central Poland on Monday when a Glock pistol appeared.
Poland, like most EU countries, has strict rules about obtaining guns and very few people are allowed to possess them or carry them in public.
Critics on social media commented that the minister must not have believed in the security she received as a person of the state, but supporters noted that Ziobro, who is also the prosecutor general, has received death threats.
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Ziobro said at a news conference on Tuesday that he obtained permission to own a gun a few years ago after discovering that an organized crime boss had called for his assassination. The man, identified only as Jan S, has been in custody for several years and is undergoing trial.
Giobro said he has victim status in this case.
“Like any citizen, I have every right to use the means that guarantee security to me and my family,” Ziobro said.
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In a separate news conference, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that all citizens, including the Justice Minister, have the right to try to obtain a permit to own a gun.
Earlier, Ziobro said that he practices shooting at a range on weekends as a hobby. He said he had the gun because the alternative was to leave it in the car, which is not allowed, as he had stopped at the ceremony on his way back to Warsaw at the start of the work week.
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He said that he does not carry weapons all the time.
Ziobro, 52, heads a small party in the ruling conservative coalition and has strong views, including support for the death penalty. He made changes to the justice system that put Poland on a collision course with the 27-nation European Union.
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