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Bearing firearms in Jordan

Jul 02,2019 - Last updated at Jul 02,2019

Minister of Interior Salameh Hammad touched a sensitive cord when he revealed on Sunday during a parliamentary debate on the amendments to the legislation on "weapons and ammunition" that 92 per cent of all violent crimes committed in the country are carried out with unlicensed arms.

For starters, the mere mention of the right to carry arms in Jordan, legal or otherwise, has been a taboo for much too long in the country. The carrying and/or keeping of arms by people in Jordan is a sensitive issue, and the hush-hush treatment of the subject led to the widespread acquisition of all sorts of weapons in the country, with most of them remaining unlicensed.

Now that we know for certain that 92 per cent of arms used for perpetrating serious and violent crimes in Jordan are unlicensed, the other side of the equation about the high percentage of licensed arms is also worrying.

The link between access to arms and violent crimes is well established worldwide. The US offers a prime example of the direct link between relatively free access to arms and armed violence. Many criminologists have concluded that US society has become violent due to the relaxed laws on the purchase and acquisition of arms.

Here at home, there are no updated statistics about the number of arms in the hands of Jordanians, whether licensed or unlicensed. It is being suspected that licensed arms are also a worrying issue for maintaining public security and stability in the country.

If the number of people who have licensed arms is too large, as, indeed, could be the case, then the problem is not only related to unlicensed guns but also to the licensed ones as well.

Hammad has successfully put this national issue on the front burner, and he deserves the gratitude and appreciation of the entire country for doing so. This grave national issue has been swept under the rug for much too long and now that the minister of interior has brought it to the surface, Parliament is called upon to become seized with the issue and deal with it in a comprehensive and balanced manner as a matter of high priority.

Jordan must have zero tolerance, not only for the carrying or keeping of arms with a licence, but also for the widespread licensed arms for no legitimate reason.

It is high time that this issue is aired out in public to combat the notion that the country has become a sanctuary for some privileged people to acquire and bear weapons for no genuine lawful justification. The sooner this is done the better for the safety and security of the Kingdom.

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