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Amnesty Nets Kalashnikov

BBC News

22 April 2003

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Amnesty nets Kalashnikov

A Kalashnikov assault rifle and two sawn-off shotguns have been handed in to Scotland's largest police force during the third week of a nationwide guns amnesty.

Strathclyde Police believe the AK47 rifle had been deactivated and could not be fired.

But they said it would have caused "a great deal of fear and alarm" if it had got into the wrong hands.

More than 4,000 rounds of ammunition and 147 other weapons were also surrendered in the last week.

The force's total haul so far is 313 guns.

Sawn-off shotguns

Detective Superintendent Stephen Ward said he was relieved that the owner of the Kalashnikov rifle had decided to hand it in to a police station.

He said: "Although this weapon cannot be fired, it still resembles a real, live AK47.

"If this weapon got into the hands of criminals, it could cause a great deal of fear and alarm."

The two sawn-off shotguns handed in were in addition to one given up earlier in the amnesty.

Mr Ward said: "We were surprised but delighted when we recovered one sawn-off shotgun, now three have been handed in.

"A sawn-off shotgun exists for only one reason - to commit a crime.

"It is a particularly lethal weapon which can cause real harm. However, three have now been taken out of circulation and cannot contribute to any injury or loss of life."

Retired Red Army officer Mikhail Kalashnikov invented the AK47 at the end of World War II and despite numerous modifications it remains essentially the same.

It is simple to make and to use - making it easy to copy for dozens of arms manufacturers around the world.

A staggering 100 million AKs have been produced so far - enough to arm all the armies of the world.

ID: N293

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