Sum-Commission Gathered To Debrate Draft Bill On Firearms

The Umut Foundation participated with some members of its Board of Directors, Lawyer Fikret İlkiz and Psychiatrist Dr. Ayhan Akcan in the Sub-Commission’s meeting on the Draft Bill on Fired Arms held by the Parlaimentary Internal Affairs Commission on 1 March. The meeting was intended to view all draft Bills which endeavour to amend the Firearms Law submitted to Parliament and prepare a new Bill.

We would like to present our assessment results for public information made by the Umut Foundation’s Board of Directors following the meeting.

First of all, six separate draft Bills concerning the prevention of painful incidents such as inflicting injuries, killing with devices described as arms in our country and the prevention of individual disarmament which are in the Sub-Commission were found as positive in terms of quality and content by the Umut Foundation.

We believe that the draft Bills prepared by our parliamentarians, resulting from their sensitivity regarding this subject will contribute to finding a legal solution to our problems.  Therefore, we would also like to thank the sensitivity shown in preventing a reoccurrence of the bitter incidents which deeply hurt our society. 

As a result of conducted studies led by the Umut Foundation, the 28 September date was accepted and widely adopted as Individual Disarmament Day.  Therefore and before all else, it is our wish that the Parlaiment and the Government accept 28 September as Individual Disarmament Day, and propose it to the UN.

A meeting on “Individual Armament Problem in Turkey: Suggestions for a Solution” was held in 2005 and the “Result Declaration” was published because of the 28 September World Individual Disarmament Day with the cooperation of Umut Foundation and the Istanbul Governorship.

In our opinion, this report concerning the meeting that was previously sent to the Internal Affairs Commission by our foundation will be beneficial for the preparations of the draft Bill.

As we stated in this report, the working groups of Social state, Media, Law and Security assessed the individual armament problem in our country from different angles in the search meeting of “Individual Armament Problem in Turkey: Suggestions for a Solution” held on 24 September 2005.

It is necessary to develop and rapidly implement educational models, which will create attitude, behaviour and language change in every segment of society, aim for a culture of human rights and peace, encourage non-violent problem solving methods, take a base of research including cultural elements, social values and reasons for armament in steps to prevent armament and solve related problems.

It is pleasing that the acceptance of the Law on the endorsement of the Protocol against Illegal Production and Smuggling of Ammunition of Firearms and their components and spare parts was added to UN resolution 5095, and the 12 February 2004 United Nations Convention against Organized International Crimes by Turkey in the context of international conventions.

However, the European Convention Regarding the Controlling, Purchase and Keeping of Firearms by Persons entered force on 1 July 1982 having been signed on 3 April 1979, but has not yet been endorsed by Turkey. It should be endorsed as soon as possible.

In our opinion – we should reiterate that the 18 June 1991 dated 91/477/CEE numbered EEC Directive defining the Purchase, Keeping and Transportation of Firearms to Other Countries has been in force since 1 January 1993 - it would be beneficial for our country’s legislation to be reviewed by taking international conventions into consideration.

In particular, all amendments of draft Bills regarding amendments to Law 6136 on Firearms, Knives and other Devices and other regulations and legislation were mentioned in the Solution Suggestions Report. 

In our opinion, individual disarmament should be accepted as a prime target. It is impossible for us to accept the tendency of “facilitating the issue of arms licence” so as to monitor, confiscate or prevent of trading of unlicensed arms and agree with such view emerged in the meeting with regard to evaluation of draft Bills held on 1 March, 2007.

This is because we as the Umut Foundation target a long term study regarding not issuing “Bearing License” to anyone except security personnel. Also, it is necessary that in the short term, the issue of the license in the case of presence of a serious threat to life and the binding license procedures bring more stringent rules in terms of legislation. This view is very clear based on our knowledge.

In parallel with this view, the 5 year licence period in existing legal arrangements should be cut to 2 years. A person should not be issued more than one licence. 

In particular, legal arrangements regarding handing in unlicensed arms, disincentives to obtain them and effective repentance and other measures should be developed.

It was determined that some of our suggestions with regard to security aspect of individual disarmament in our Report are in draft Bills.

 As our members of the Board of Directors who participated in the Sub-Commission meeting stated, it is necessary that

Effective measures to reduce demand for arms license are urgently taken in the legislation

Unlicensed arms are registered and penal sanctions increased

A single database is formed encompassing the whole of Turkey

The scope of bearing licenses is limited, and if possible changed to keeping

The condition of limiting bearing licenses to workplace and on-the-job is arranged by law

Legal arrangements are made regarding blank firing arms and banning of bearing of arms while under the influence of alcohol

The procedure of issuing licences in the event of demand for arms regarding life safety is reviewed together with regulations

Health certificates should be requested during the licensing process as a medical board report

Detailed psychological tests covering anger, personality, reaction and mental illness should certainly be made mandatory and this report should be
sent to related institution as confidential

The certificate programme make both practical and theoretical training mandatory

The minimum age limit should be raised and the maximum age limit lowered

Licenses of those who do not renew their licenses within 6 months following the licensing deadline should be cancelled without the need for written

Consumption of bullets is monitored and the annual number purchased limited; further control systems regarding arms inspections and their guarding should be developed.

We hope this information is useful

With respect,

Nazire Dedeman 

Founding Chairwoman