Paris [France], March 21 (ANI): Amid opposition from all political backgrounds, the French Senate on Thursday adopted article 25 of a law on security which allows police officers on leave to carry their firearms in public establishments such as theaters and shopping malls, and prohibits the management of such venues from preventing it, FRANCE24 reported.
Article 25 provides that local agents and gendarmes (national police) who carry their weapons during their rest can no longer be refused access to places such as museums, cinemas, shopping centers and schools, which France classifies as ERP – establishments open to the public.
The French senators adopted article 25 by a vote of 214 votes to 121 without any modification of the version already approved by the National Assembly of the lower house; the article raised questions and caused an uproar from senators of all political stripes.
A series of amendments aimed at eliminating Article 25 were defended by lawmakers from the Socialist and Green parties, as well as by senators from the communist-majority groups CRCE and the European Democratic and Social Assembly. In addition, more than 20 senators among chamber centrists, Republicans and center-right independents also supported the amendments, FRANCE24 reported.
Meanwhile, Denis Jacob, general secretary of Alternative Police, a union associated with the CFDT trade union federation, told FRANCE 24 that concerns about article 25 constitute a “false debate”.
“Since 2016, police have been going to public places with a gun hidden in a holster or bag in the summer and that has never been a problem,” said Jacob. “On the contrary, it is an additional guarantee of security to know that the police and gendarmes can intervene in the event of an attack.
Frédéric Ploquin, police specialist and author of the book Les Narcos francais break l’omerta also has a positive view of article 25.
“First, there is no obligation for officers to carry a weapon outside of their service,” Ploquin told FRANCE 24. “And it is only a question of intervention in a terrorist context such as Bataclan, ”he said, referring to the Paris concert hall where armed Islamist militants killed 90 people on November 13, 2015.
Whether reassuring or alarming, the French Senate has voted on article 25. Since it was adopted by both chambers of parliament at first reading, the article cannot be amended in the Assembly. national, reported FRANCE24.
Previously, France had adopted article 24, which aimed to criminalize the dissemination of images of police officers likely to attack their “physical or mental integrity”. (ANI)