Global Week of Action against Gun Violence

2-8 June 2008
 Global Week of Action against Gun Violence   
2-8 June 2008

Licensed gun usage is Turkey is increasing 
Legal arrangements in Turkey are insufficient... 

In 2007, according to autopsies on the cases in Istanbul only: 
Approximately one out of every 8 people lost his/her life by gunshot
Approximately one out of every 20 was a child…

Each year the first week of June is the “Global Week of Action against Gun Violence” and all over the world, coordinated activities of the biggest scope are held.  Activists around the world use the Week of Action to hold campaigns to draw attention to the fact that guns are fatal, draw attention to the armed violence and to create/ raise societal awareness.
Many events are taking place on every day of the week, which at the same time aim to put social pressure on countries to have better gun laws and push for stronger regulation of the international arms trade.
This year on “Global Week of Action against Gun Violence” from 2-8 June, we would like to draw your attention to the latest situation regarding personal armament in the world and in Turkey:
In the world
Personal armament is especially a societal safety issue and it is as dangerous as wars. According to IANSA’s (International Action Network on Small Arms) statistics;
  1.  A thousand people die every day by gunshots across the world and 3000 are severely injured.Of the deaths by gunshot each day, around 250 occur in a war or armed conflict. The remaining 750 deaths by gunshot are homicides, suicides and unintentional gun deaths.
  2. Of the 875 million guns circulating on the planet today, 74% are owned by non-state actors or civilians. 22.9% of the remainder is owned by the government armed forces and 3% is owned by the police. This means that weapons in private hands outnumber government. Around 8 million small guns are manufactured globally each year.
  3. An assault with a firearm is 12 times more likely to prove fatal than an assault by other means.  2003 study conducted in the US showed that keeping a gun in the home increases the risk of somebody in the household dying – whether by homicide, suicide or accident – by 41%.
In Turkey
We came across interesting results, following the evaluation of the 2007 – 2008 (Jan-March) data we received from Security General Directorate by Psychiatrist Dr. Ayhan Akcan, Founding Member of the Umut Foundation.
The statistics for 2007 only show:
1.     In 2007, only 15% of the firearms used in disorderly conducts in the areas under police supervision were licensed.
2.     Firearms were used the most in crimes against society. In one out of every ten crimes against society a firearm has been used.
3.     There is one death case for every 25 injury cases.
4.     Half of the people who are dead are female; the other half is male.
5.     Licensed firearms were used the most in incidents which require following up. The usage of firearms in incidents which require following up is 2.5 times more than any other crimes.
6.     Firearms were used the least in crimes against possessions.
7.     Three out of every100 people who were killed are foreign. (approx. 3.2%) and 1 out of every 4 people (25 %) who were killed were at the age of 18 or under. 56% of the foreign people who were killed at the age of 18 or under are women.
Disorderly conducts in the first three months of 2008 (January – March) in the areas under police supervision in comparison to 2007
1.     There is 57% increase in the usage of firearms. There is an increase in the usage of licensed firearms.
2.     The number of foreigners killed has increased. The rate of men who get killed as increased.
3.     The usage of guns has increased by 30 times in incidents which require following up.
4.     In detailed distribution of guns, handguns and blank firing guns especially draw attention. Rifles were used in 2 out of every 3 cases and one out of every 4 guns (¼) used in crimes against possessions and people were blank firing guns. Rifles were used in 2 out of every 3 cases (2/3).
5.     When we consider the presence of guns in incidents that require follow up and the rate of gun usage in the most-committed crimes, we think that it will be a true public order problem.
6.     Additionally, despite the existence of a law on blank firing guns, we see that there are no inspections yet and the law is not applied in practice.
7.     Again the widespread use of handguns and rifles in these incidents show that there is a need for urgent legal arrangements.
8.     Licensed guns too are commonly used in crimes; licensing arms does not have a deterrent effect; on the contrary these arms are commonly used as tools for injuring and killing.
In Istanbul only:
According to the data supplied by The Institute of Forensic Medicine to Turkish statistical Institute (TÜİK);
In 2007, autopsies were carried out on a total of 4,196 people in Istanbul, and it was confirmed that 12% of these (503 people) were killed by gunshot. 26 out of the 503 were children.
In 90% of the cases (452 people) the people were killed by short & long barreled guns firing bullet shells and 10% (51 people) were killed by shotguns.
These numbers show that in 2007, in Istanbul only, according to forensic autopsies carried out;  1 out of every 8 people were killed by a gunshot and one out every 20 people killed is a child.  90% of these deaths were caused by short & long barreled guns.
The conclusions show that the legal arrangements for firearms in Turkey, which endanger our lives, are not at all sufficient. In contradiction to what people believe, the rate of crimes committed using licensed guns increase every day and the violence caused by so-called blank firing guns continues despite the newly enacted law. The regulation on the law on blank firing guns should be completed as soon as possible and the law number 6136 should be updated to make it more difficult to obtain guns and to include the return of guns for destruction.
Umut Foundation (0212 337 29 92;