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Efforts to curb illegal gun ownership in the Kurdistan region are ongoing

Erbil, Kurdistan Region (GOV.KRD) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has made progress in controlling illegal firearms and continues its efforts to reach a future with stricter measures on gun ownership across the Kurdistan Region.

“The KRG, in cooperation with the private sector, is working on a joint project to set up a place for selling, repairing, and dealing with weapons under the supervision of the interior ministry,” Director General of Diwan at the Ministry of Interior, Hemin Mirany said on Friday.

The government has formed 40 gun registration committees in its efforts to strengthen gun laws and reduce the number of private guns. The groups consist of representatives of the police, the Asayish, and the Peshmerga forces.

The Ministry of Interior has given gun owners one year to register their firearms, according to Mirany, which then leads to a "long process" to obtain a permit to carry the weapons.

Prime Minister Masrour Barzani ordered the closure of markets selling weapons as well as the confiscation of unlicensed guns in June following an increase in gun-related crimes in the Region as firearms, including rifles and machine guns, could be purchased on the black market.

“We will not sacrifice the security of our people and our country to evildoers, smugglers, and opportunists. I call on the Kurdish people to hand over illegal weapons to the government and participate in the process of cleaning Kurdistan of illegal weapons. Then, in accordance with the law, the issue of weapons handling will be regulated,” Prime Minister Barzani said in a statement at the time.

According to Article 6 of the 1993 weapons ownership law, any person over 18 and who is a permanent resident of the Kurdistan Region, and has no criminal record of mental illness can carry a weapon.

“Two directives and a law have been passed, one of which is specific to security companies dedicated to organizing arms … there is no dereliction in the weapons law and it does not need to be amended,” Mirany said.