Citation(s) from the literature library

Syria. 2010 ‘Legislative Decree No. 51 of 23 September 2001.’ National Report of the Syrian Arab Republic on its Implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (UNPoA), p. 2. New York, NY: Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations. 1 January

Relevant contents

Legislative Decree No. 51 of 23 September 2001, which promulgated the new small weapons permits law, revoked all permits for military rifles, whether automatic or single-shot. Such rifles and their ammunition were collected from the permit holders and turned over to the Arms Directorate of the Ministry of National Defence.

In addition to revoking all permits for all automatic weapons (military revolvers and rifles), that decree also limits the number of weapons per licensed owner to one single-shot revolver and two hunting rifles. Under previous laws, a person could license two revolvers of any type (automatic or single-shot) and six hunting weapons.

The minimum age of eligibility for a permit was raised from 18 to 25.

That Decree also increased permit fees and penalties for illegal arms possession or trafficking. The fee for authorized possession of a revolver for five years, which is the period of validity of the permit, is 10,000 Syrian pounds (approximately US$ 200): under previous laws it had been 250 Syrian pounds (approximately US$ 5).

Decree No. 51 gave citizens holding unlicensed weapons, ammunition or explosives of any kind six months to turn them over to the Government. People turning in weapons within that time limit were exempted from legal consequences, and were compensated for any weapons turned in for which it had been possible to obtain a permit under previous laws. That time limit was extended for a further six months by Decree No. 23 of 29 April 2002, with the same provisions applying to anyone wishing to turn over any weapons for which it had previously been possible to obtain a permit.

Legislative Decree No. 25 of 10 April 2005 granted another six-month period for the same purpose. As a result, thousands of small arms were turned in. Revolvers and hunting rifles were turned over to GOTA [General Organization for Trade and Distribution], which was responsible for compensating the owners. Military rifles and all other military weapons and ammunition were turned over to the Arms Directorate of the Ministry of Defence. The Government's goal was to limit proliferation and reduce the chance of such weapons falling into the hands of private citizens.

These measures were carried out in accordance with United Nations guidelines for controlling trafficking, possession, carrying and transfer of such weapons, because of the tragic social consequences that might result from their widespread and illegal proliferation.

ID: Q6504

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