ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sunday passed a decree that limits the possession of guns to licensed individuals and the types thereof to pistols and Kalashnikov rifles.
The decision was made to “eliminate the phenomenon of carrying firearms,” especially those the KRG described in its statement as “heavy and medium firearms.”
Access to said restricted guns would be solely for the “armed forces of the [KRG],” while owners of such guns would hand them over to the local police or security (Asayish) forces, later to be taken possession of by the Peshmerga forces.
Unlicensed carriers are to visit the competent authorities to register their guns, namely pistols and Kalashnikov rifles.
The KRG has given citizens a six-month deadline after which individuals in possession of illicit guns or unlicensed ones would be prosecuted.
The government’s crackdown comes after a recent incident involving an extended exchange of often heavy machine gunfire in a residential area of the Kurdistan Region’s capital of Erbil.
Videos social media users posted showed hundreds of live rounds flying in the sky. Locals were alarmed by what they witnessed in a normally quiet area.
Reckless firing into the air of this kind, called “celebratory gunfire” when performed on special occasions, are persistent in the region, despite repeated calls by the authorities to avoid the act.
In one such incident on Oct. 3, three people were killed in Sulaimani province, while two others were injured.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany