Parliaments discusses the laws on arms control and monitoring [Archives:2008/1161/Local News]

May 5 2008

Sana'a, June 1 ) the Parliament discussed the legislative amendment concerning controlling firearms, light ammunition, and the trading of these items among the governorates' capital cities and countryside on Sunday.

The Parliament opened this discussion aimed at curbing the spread of light arms and limiting explosives importation in order to better security throughout the country.

The legal article forbids anyone who possesses weapons to carry them inside the capital city of Sana'a as well as cities throughout the other governorates, was put into law in 1992. The issue is still hotly disputed among members of Parliament (MPs), some of whom are tribal sheikhs who protest the anti-weapons law, claiming that bearing arms is needed for defense in remote regions.

Against strong protests, last year the Interior Ministry banned Sana'a city residents from carrying firearms. The minister's directive also banned weapons from entering the capital city of Sana'a, canceled all the previously-held firearms licenses and even banned carrying licensed firearms. Anyone disobeying these orders is subject to arrest and punishment.

According to the Ministry of the Interior, this measure will reduce firearms-related incidents in the city and will encourage more tourism to and investment in Yemen.

Besides these efforts, the ministry also launched campaigns to shut down unlicensed gun and firearms shops. The government also launched a weapons buy-back campaign in 2005, which gave financial incentives to citizens to turns over their firearms. There are over 60,000,000 firearms in Yemen, with an estimated three weapons per each person.

According to recent statistics, incidents of crime have decreased by an average of 43 percent in Yemen's urban areas. The decrease is attributed to the implementation of a government ban on carrying weapons that encouraged many MPs support the approval of article 40, which bans weapons throughout the various capital cities in Yemen's other governates.

They stressed the importance of adjusting and expanding this article to contain rules on exporting, storing, and marketing weapons and explosives.

MP Abdullwahab Mwdha, a member of the human rights committee in Parliament stated, “All the Yemeni crises and tragedies have resulted from arms-carrying and its spread. Because of this