KRG to open centers across Kurdistan Region for collecting unregistered firearms
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Ministry of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) announced the opening of centers across the autonomous region for collecting unregistered firearms from gun owners.
Signed by Interior Minister Rebar Ahmed, the decree was issued on Saturday. Kurdistan 24 received a copy on Sunday.
The decision comes after Prime Minister Barzani issued a ban in late June on the sale of firearms and unregistered weapons to stem rising gun violence.
Twelve centers will be established to receive machine guns and “heavy weaponry”, the decree added, urging citizens to hand over those weapons.
The ministry will grant licenses to other weaponry that the government views as permissible under the newly-amended gun law passed in Kurdistan Parliament.
After a weapon is registered, the owner must pledge not to carry, sell, or gift it.
The registration-and-handover process will continue for one year, after which any seizure of weapons will be dealt with under the laws that govern unlicensed weapons.
Prime Minister Barzani ordered the gun prohibition after a dismissed student shot two university professors dead in Erbil.
The KRG’s decision was warmly welcomed by citizens and observers who hailed the move as a necessary measure to curtail gun violence.
“That has not been the experience in Canada, Australia, or the UK, where gun deaths are a fraction now of what they are in the US, where the argument you make, against all empirical evidence, is accepted by much of the polity,” Feisal al-Istrabadi, a renowned Iraqi lawyer and former diplomat, tweeted in late June.
“Bravo to the KRG for acting,” he added.