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Justice Minister criticizes parliament for delay in weapons-purchase draft

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 8
Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani criticized parliament for the delay in the draft related to the purchase of weapons. The minister claims that introducing restrictions concerning buying, possessing and carrying firearms would be a reliable lever in the combat against criminals.

Thulukiani’s statements came after the death of a 29-year-old police officer a couple of days ago, and the initiative of the Interior Ministry to broaden police rights.

Thulukiani claims that the current authorities should no longer use the slogan, and the attitude of the previous government with regard to “zero tolerance” towards criminals.

She stresses that increased power of police should not abuse human rights in any context and must not be interpreted as it used to be under the former authorities.

Meanwhile, both the majority and minority revealed a similar position concerning Thulukiani’s vision.

The majority and minority representatives believe that the tough rules over weapons will not eliminate crime, as criminals as a rule commit crimes with illegal weapons and do not care about the legal purchase of arms.

Meanwhile, majority MP Elso Chapidze claims that the Parliament’s Legal Committee has already studied the draft mentioned by Tsulukiani that was elaborated by the ministers of interior and justice.

“We have already sent our recommendations to the ministry of justice and are waiting for their response,” Chapidze states.

Members of the opposition United National Movement stress that the increase in criminal activity is because of the large-scale amnesty initiated and carried out by the current government in 2013.

The UNM has initiated a 100,000 GEL one-time compensations instead of 15,000 GEL for police officers who die while fulfilling their duties, as it happens with regard to soldiers.

The draft elaborated concerning the weapons purchase reads that citizens over the age of 21 will have the right to purchase sporting, gas and dwarf guns. And those who want to purchase, keep or carry a gun, will be obliged to pass an exam about weapons safety and the rules of owning a firearm.

An individual will also undergo a special check to determine their mental state of mind, which will give authorities information about whether to grant that person a gun license or not.

The new rules also set standards for possessing a weapon. In particular, the gun must be kept in safety mode.

If an individual is found to be flouting the rules, they will face a four-year prison sentence instead of a fine.

People who have ever committed a crime will never get permission to own a gun.

In addition, people who have committed an administrative offence, including minor hooliganism, drunk driving and resisting police, would also be forbidden from owing a gun.