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How can Jordan control civilian gun possession

Jul 13,2019 - Last updated at Jul 13,2019

Even though Minister of Interior Salameh Hammad had denied recently that he had ever said that there are about 10 million guns of various sizes in the hands of Jordanians, he did confirm that there are much too many such guns in the possession of Jordanians.

Whether the actual number of floating guns in the country is in the millions or slightly less, the fact remains that Jordanians are heavily armed.

Gun smuggling from Syria could be the culprit, but this is not the real issue. The issue is why so many Jordanians feel obliged by custom or tradition, or worse still by necessity, to possess guns at a time when security and stability in the country is well enshrined and established due to the vigilance of Jordanian security apparatuses.

The question now is how to go about collecting this large number of guns and keep them only in the hands of the police and the armed forces.

It is doubtful that the number of "licensed" weapons is too big and unmanageable. The danger is in the large number of "unlicensed" weapons in many parts of the country.

To say that it is a sign of manhood to carry guns and should, therefore, be tolerated is ridiculous. Manhood is not measured by carrying or possessing guns.

Fortunately, however, Jordan does not yet have the problem of such countries as the US, where the availability of weapons of all sizes is spread out in the open in most areas of the country, and have been used in schools, malls and for the commission of a variety of crimes.

Yet, the danger is compounded in Jordan by the fact that there is no full record of the guns in the hands of the population, whereas in the US there is such a record due to the obligatory registration rule.

Under the circumstances in Jordan, I cannot begin to think of how Jordan can reverse the tide of the widespread possession of weapons in the country. How can Jordanians be persuaded to give up their weapons when it has become part of the county's culture for so many decades!

The government must begin to entertain an action-oriented policy of reversing the tide of weapons' possession, and by what means.

Friendly persuasion is not likely to succeed, as gun owners now view their possession of guns as their inalienable right by tradition and custom. As hard as the policy of dealing with this crisis is the country can no longer afford to brush it under the carpet any longer. The sooner the crisis is recognised and dealt with the better.

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