Commission Report On Legal And Social Status Of Blank Guns

As the Umut Foundation, between May and October 2007, we formed a commission to carry out the related work to create a common ground for the “Exploration Meeting on Legal and Social Status of Blank Guns” (LSSBG) and invited the related parties and shared information in this matter.

The aim of the exploration meeting is to compare the legal and the social status of blank guns in our country with the international situation and to improve it accordingly. The Commission Meetings have been realized to describe the necessary targets and activities to meet this aim in detail, to plan them and to put them into application.

The expectations from the Exploration Meeting and the Commission have been determined as follows:

  1. To  carry out research on the current local and international laws regarding the legislation of blank guns and compare them,
  2. To gather together the Decisions and case laws (if any) of the Supreme Court of Appeals on blank guns,
  3. To prepare proposals of draft laws to eliminate the problem of conversion of blank guns into firearms, which is getting more and more dangerous, ,
  4. To reveal the criminal acts committed with blank guns, their existence in the current crime map, who committed these acts, who and what are mistreated,   and the size of the unjust treatment,
  5. To determine the reasons for obtaining a blank gun,
  6. To investigate the government policies on blank guns and the role/ decisive influence of the sector,
  7. To determine what the aims of those who obtain blank guns are and take measures to reduce/ prevent obtaining them,
  8. To prepare a motto to draw attention once more to the dangers of blank guns within the framework of personal disarmament.

The following organizations took part in the Commission work to share this knowledge and experiences:

Istanbul Province Gendarmerie District Command,  Security General Directorate, Law and Order Department of Istanbul Security Directorate, Weapon Permits Department of Istanbul Security Directorate, Retailers of Firearms (Ümraniye, Sarıgazi, Samandıra), Üçyıldız Gun Ind., İçten Hunting Weapons, Association of Firearms Retailers and Manufactures...

As a result of (LSSBG) Commission Meetings, the conclusions and the suggestions on the status of blank guns are as follows:

  1. The supervision of blank gun sellers and the sanctions should be improved. 
    There are no authorities bound by the terms of blank guns. The reason for this is the fact that there are no legal arrangements in this matter. Thus one of the most important things to be done is to determine the addressees of this matter.
  2. The most important thing here is the absence of any legal arrangements related to this matter. 
    As there are no legal arrangements they can be obtained very easily and therefore commonly used in our society. Lack of inspection ant its widespread had fatal consequences; the blank gun can be converted into a real gun by replacing the barrel with a simple apparatus. 
  3. The current draft law proposal is a well-intentioned attempt to fill the current legal gap. 
    However, it was determined that its scope should be extended and that a more detailed work should be carried out on it by taking social issues related to blank guns into consideration. This detailed work will be carried out during the exploration meeting by a work group consisting of experts in this field and lawyers; each article shall be examined and a new draft proposal will be created.
  4. Blank guns do not protect but they kill! It was stated that the reason for obtaining a  blank gun arises from the desire to imitate and protection and that there is an increase in the sales of blank guns parallel to TV series. In this case the purpose of acquiring blank guns can be divided into two categories; due to innocent reasons (protection and security) and non-innocent reasons (easy to commit a crime with this tool due to lack of penalties, easy access, almost no punishment.
  5. The members of the Security Directorate who took part in the commission meetings stated that the matter is related with security  and that the person who uses the blank gun he/she possesses “as if it is a real gun” to scare the person he is facing and to prevent him from harming him/her.
  6. Blank guns are lethal and scathing and the necessity of including in the definition of firearms has arisen. Psychological tests must absolutely be carried un during the inspection of purchases and it should be made harder and to obtain a blank gun and restrictions should be implemented.
  7. People in Turkey fear from being subject to violence from armed persons.  This rate cannot be brought under %30. There is a social public opinion resulting from this fear. This social public opinion always comes up indirectly with the news and with the crimes committed using these guns. Especially within the past five years, this fear rate has increased due to the increase in crimes committed against property.
  8. According to the information gathered from the representatives of the sector; blank guns are mostly demanded in rural areas. The Black Sea Region is ranked first and Eastern Anatolia and Central Anatolia follow. The biggest reason for the demand from the rural areas is the fact that blank guns are commonly used for shooting in the air in regional weddings. The guns demanded by the large towns correspond to 30% of the guns manufactured.  Blank guns are not purchased for protection purposes; more often than not (especially in Anatolia) they are purchased for using in weddings and to give people the impression that “I have a gun”. They buy it thinking “Let there be a gun present at home”. Especially within the last three years there is serious demand from those who cannot get smuggled/ illegal guns or guns with permits. A person cannot protect himself with these weapons, quite the opposite; he hurts himself as the wad can cause serious harm. 
  9. According to the members of the Security Directorate ban of blank guns in some way does not result in an inclination towards unlicensed guns. Precautions can be taken to prevent this by laws. It is necessary to tightly restrict the sales of real guns as well as the blanks.  In the first nine months of 2006 the incidents in which blank guns were involved in Istanbul is 2475.  33 people were killed, 566 people injured and 391 usurpation incidents occurred due to conversion of blank guns into real guns. The number of incidents on which blank guns were shot in the air in residential areas is 325. The number reached in gun flashing and threat cases is 229. If a person gets caught with a blank they are usually released without any charges as they will not face any penalties. Even if a man is caught with his gun he cannot be pressed with charges there are not restrictions to carry it. Only the invoice details can be questioned.
  10. Every human being knows that if one draws a blank gun and if the person opposite has a real gun, he would get killed. This means that it is lethal.  Additionally it can be used in suicides. Those who commit a crime use the tool they are closest to. If a person has easy access to a gun, he commits the crime using a gun. Carrying a blank gun, keeping a blank gun and the places where the blanks can be sold should be restricted and the rules should be imposed by law. For example in Germany the penalty of carrying a blank gun is very heavy. Therefore the members of the Security Directorate, state that the draft law submitted by Gülseren Topuz and Internal Affairs Commission currently works on is –at least good- but emphasize that the conditions should be heavier. Penalties imposed on real guns should be implemented on blanks as well.  .
    Just a record of conviction should not be sufficient for acquiring a blank gun, those who have committed certain crimes should be banned from getting a blank gun. Taking a psychological test should be compulsory. For blank guns at least a document confirming “fitness for purchasing a gun” should be obtained from the psychologists. Record of conviction, psychiatric examination report and renewal of the permit/document every five years after the purchase should be obligatory. . A five-year fine is foreseen for conversions according to 6136. This article should be added to the draft bill as well, because conversion show that the person is not innocent and planning to commit a crime.
  11. So-called Blank guns or gas guns should be subject to Law number 6136 if carried around the waist. When blanks converted into real guns are confiscated, the units of the Security Directorate should follow up the matter and find out where it has been converted. It is crucial to determine the places where these guns are sold illegally.
  12. In the said legal arrangement provisions should be included to enforce the policies and to stop
  13. The postponement of the penalties as well as provisions to make the penalties heavier. Therefore adding an article which to stop the postponement of the penalties to this new draft bill can be considered.
  14. In the packaging of the guns sold, a sign indicating that the gun is lethal and the instructions for usage should be included. 
  15. Blank guns have the properties of a tool of crime. Therefore first of all  the terminological definition 
    Of a blank gun should be determined. The definition of “blank guns” should be included in the “definition of weapons” in the 6th Article of Turkish Penal Code.
  16. Provisions banning all campaigns and advertising activities that direct and instigate the citizens to purchase guns should be included in the bill.