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The Ministry of Internal Affairs has proposed amendments to the law on weapons that will tighten controls on the circulation of award and all other types of weapons in the country.
KYRGYZSTAN ― An incident in 2007 that involved a weapon awarded to former Kyrgyz Minister of Foreign Affairs Alikbek Jekshenkulov that law enforcement authorities claim was used to kill a Turkish businessman, sparked a heated debate in the country about the need for weapons registration, particularly those presented as awards from the prime minister.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs asserts that there have been more than 1,300 such awards since independence, but the law on weapons contains no provisions controlling their circulation. As a result, the ministry has proposed amendments to the law, that if endorsed by parliament, will require owners of awarded weapons to present them for inspection every five years and renew their ownership licences every three years and they will not be entitled to sell them.
Few awarded weapons have been registered to date, and representatives of law enforcement agencies believe the time has come not only to make registration a requirement, but also to change the procedure by which weapons are awarded by the government. Previously, awards of weapons were issued exclusively by the prime minister, but the Ministry of the Interior has proposed that they be granted only with the approval of the entire cabinet.
The ministry also seeks to make registration of hunting weapons compulsory. There are more than 30,000 weapons of this kind in Kyrgyzstan. According to Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Talantbek Isayev, an order cancelling the right of legal entities to acquire 100 firearms has already been signed. “During an investigation, it was established that many private companies obtain firearms without registering them,” Isayev stated.
A study by the Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland entitled, “Kyrgyzstan: a firearms anomaly in Central Asia,” reports that law enforcement authorities confiscated around 5,000 illegal firearms in Kyrgyzstan between 1999 and 2003.