Budget allocated for 15000 firearms
Iraq’s Interior Ministry Initiates weapon buyback program
BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Ministry of Interior is executing a government directive to reduce firearms in public hands by purchasing them from citizens, a senior official told 964media. This initiative, spearheaded by Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, seeks to centralize arms control under state authority, aiming to substantially decrease the number of weapons among the population.
The ministry has set an ambitious target to reclaim 10 million firearms from civilian possession, focusing on light and medium weapons. Nonetheless, the official admitted the challenge of this endeavor, noting that the budget allocated for each province is inadequate to collect more than 15,000 Kalashnikovs nationwide.
Last month, the Interior Ministry unveiled this unparalleled plan to repurchase weapons from civilians within the year. Although this initiative marks the first of its kind since 2003, security experts contend that it may fall short in tackling the proliferation of weapons in Iraq.
“The interior ministry is operating through 697 centers across all provinces to streamline the weapon buyback process for citizens,” the official told 964media. The process begins with the official registration of firearms, where citizens are encouraged to surrender their weapons at the nearest police station within seven days of receiving the registration form.
Beyond police stations, the Ministry has introduced an alternative via the “Ur Gateway,” a government portal, in accordance with Article 9 of the government’s program to consolidate weapons under state control.
The government has set the buyback pricing with a minimum of 750,000 dinars for pistols and 1 million dinars for Kalashnikovs. This pricing model, however, limits the purchase to about 1,000 Kalashnikovs per province, with a total budget of 15 billion dinars, excluding the Kurdistan Region.
Security expert Fadel Abu Ragheef expressed to 964media that the Interior Ministry’s approach to reducing civilian-held weapons through purchases is inadequate given the vast arsenal in circulation, noting this as the government’s initial effort since 2003.
Ali Al-Bayati, a former member of the Human Rights Commission, voiced concerns over Iraq’s political future, attributing the widespread availability of weapons among civilians as detrimental to law enforcement across state functions.
Legal expert Ali Al-Tamimi stressed the necessity for legal reform, pointing out that the existing Iraqi weapons law, Act 51 of 2017, permits the sale of weapons in stores and lacks stringent penalties for unauthorized possession. “The government’s only recourse is to repurchase weapons from civilians to mitigate the crisis,” Al-Tamimi told 964media.