World Bulletin/News Desk
In the wake of the Gezi Park protests, a sub-commission of the Interior Ministry has adopted a draft law regulating firearms that defines Molotov cocktails as “weapons” and assigns a three-to-eight-year prison sentence just for possession of one.
When used in organized crime, the sentence might increase to between four and a half to 12 years.
The use of firecrackers in order to attack or for self-defense in a way that poses a threat to life will be punished with between one and three years in prison.
Molotov cocktails and firecrackers are both defined in the draft law as “hand-made attack and defense instruments consisting of flammable materials.”
If the draft is adopted, it will be the first time Molotov cocktails will be legally defined in Turkish law, although there have been cases where the Supreme Court of Appeals has accepted them as a weapon.
The regulations on firecrackers and Molotov cocktails is said to have been added as a last-minute change to the draft law, which is widely thought to be a response to the Gezi Park incidents. The draft law is expected to be assessed by the main commission on Thursday next week.
Criminology Professor Timur Demirbaş, spokesman for the Umut Foundation, an influential NGO promoting gun control, says: “It is excessive to punish someone for eight years just for carrying gasoline. Will you punish someone who is carrying some fuel in a canister to his vehicle stuck on a highway? You can easily call it a ‘Molotov cocktail' according to the new draft law.”
The new draft law contains other controversial regulations, too. Pepper spray, which is mostly carried by women for self-defense, is set to be made into a less-concentrated product than the pepper based tear gas police use.
It will also be illegal to sell pepper spray to those under 18.
Licenses for pistols will be given starting from the age of 25, which Professor Demirbaş says is the only proposals of foundation that the commission accepted.
Professor Demirbaş says: “The commission mostly did not heed our proposals. Gun manufacturers are the ones who are being listened to. We are the only NGO who attended the talks as an opposing figure. We demanded the legal age to be 21 for shotguns. And guns should be strictly forbidden at wedding celebrations. As for firecrackers, purchasing them should be banned except at celebrations, because they kill birds and pose a fire risk.” Demirbaş also emphasizes that “guns as gifts” should be restricted.
He points out that retired soldiers, police officers, deputies, governors, judges and prosecutors are legally allowed to own guns, according to present legislation.Last Mod: 22 Haziran 2013, 12:15