Deadline looming

 Tuz Khurmatu authorities urge residents to register unlicensed firearms  

TUZ KHURMATU — Authorities in Salah Al-Din Governorate’s Tuz Khurmatu district have issued a directive for residents to register their unlicensed firearms, cautioning that inspections will begin immediately after the deadline at year’s end.

Haider Garmki, the mukhtar of the Rizgari neighborhood, emphasized the urgency in a recent interview with 964media. “The police administration has convened two meetings with us in the past 10 days to stress the importance of registering unlicensed firearms,” Garmki said. He added, “Residents have been repeatedly warned in the past but have failed to adhere to these directives. This deadline is definitive.”

Hussein Ali, the police chief in Tuz Khurmatu, noted, “The Iraqi Ministry of Interior has consistently informed all governorates about the necessity of registering and surrendering unlicensed weapons. However, Tuz Khurmatu has the lowest registration rate, which does not exceed 30%.”

Earlier this year, the Iraqi government launched a national gun buyback program scheduled to continue through the end of 2024. Miqdad Meery, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, reported that 697 centers across 15 governorates are set up to facilitate the firearm purchases from citizens. Meery disclosed that the government has earmarked up to one billion dinars (approximately $750,000) for each governorate as an initial allocation, with a total of two billion dinars designated for the capital.

Ali further detailed, “Following the December deadline, police will initiate comprehensive inspections. Any individual discovered with unlicensed weapons will face stringent legal consequences and have their firearms confiscated.”

Under Iraqi law, citizens are allowed to keep a handgun or a basic firearm at their workplace or home, with ammunition limits set at 50 rounds for handguns and 200 rounds for basic firearms, provided the weapons are registered.

Iraq has experienced decades of conflict, resulting in the widespread availability of arms among the populace without government licenses. The demand for gun control and regulation has grown due to the ongoing violence. Yet, it remains to be seen how the government will tackle the challenge posed by various militias that hold extensive arsenals and often operate outside of governmental oversight.

Iraqi interior minister announces weapons buyback program in Basra

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