750 arrested in Jordan on firearms charges in two months

A security campaign by the Jordanian authorities has led to the arrest of 750 people on firearms charges since 27 June. Almost 900 weapons were confiscated in the same period.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Jordan’s Public Security Directorate revealed that last week alone, police units involved in the security campaign against unlicensed weapons arrested 70 people around the country and seized 75 firearms. Of those arrested, one was a child and three had non-Jordanian Arab nationality.

Senate Speaker and former Prime Minister Faisal Al-Fayez said on Monday that the authorities must put an end to the proliferation of weapons in society. “These weapons must be collected and licensed,” he added, “and the authorities must intensify their firm measures to ban the illegal arms trade and stop gun smuggling.”

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The Jordanian House of Representatives is expected to submit a draft law on weapons and ammunition which has been proposed since 2016. It is a controversial measure that was met with opposition after the government put it on the schedule to be looked at during the special session of the House of Representatives, the deadline for which is at the end of this month.

There is a stark division in Jordan between those who support moves to reduce the number of weapons on the streets and those who oppose the idea. The head of the parliamentary legal committee, lawyer Abdel Moneim Al-Awdat, has pointed out on a previous occasion that this split has been recognised, and that the issue is still under discussion.

According to official statistics in Jordan, there were 1,845 incidents when firearms were discharged last year, compared with 1786 in 2017. There were also 70 shooting incidents in 2017 during wedding ceremonies, resulting in 30 injuries and one death. In 2018, 103 shooting incidents were recorded at wedding parties, resulting in two deaths and 18 injuries. As in some other countries in the Middle East, it is customary for people to fire guns while pointing them into the air during wedding and other celebrations.