Manama: Kuwaiti lawmakers have called for a new campaign to collect firearms from individuals in a bid to ensure higher safety standards.
The call was issued one day after a stray bullet fired in a celebratory mood killed a 24-year-old groom on his wedding night.
“I urge the government to apply the law and to start a campaign to take all firearms from the people,” MP Waleed Al Tabtabai said. “The government should assume this responsibility.”
The campaign to collect firearms should be serious and should include everybody, Adel Al Damkhi said.
“There should be no exception in order to protect the society from evil and sedition,” he said. “If we want to put an end to accusations of possessing firearms, we need the interior ministry to collect all guns. In fact, to ensure that we are not afflicted by sectarian tension and sedition, taking away forearms from all individuals has become a necessity,” he said in remarks published by local Arabic daily Al Jareeda on Tuesday.
Celebratory gun fires are popular in the Middle East, especially among tribes marking weddings, despite official efforts to stamp out the use of firearms.
According to the daily, the number of accidents involving the use of firearms in celebrations or in attacks has increased this year.
“The sight of people carrying firearms has become familiar on several occasions, and this is ominous, especially with the security chaos in the region and other factors in the region that have resulted in regular attempts to smuggle weapons into Kuwait,” the paper said, quoting security sources.
On Monday, Abdullah Al Khalidi was killed on his way to a marriage hall where he was to receive congratulations from relatives and friends on his wedding.
According to reports, a friend sitting behind Abdullah in the car took out his gun to get ready to fire in the air upon the arrival of the groom’s party to mark the celebrations.
However, the friend reportedly fired a shot accidently and killed the groom, turning the wedding celebrations into a tragedy and prompting the calls to control the spread of firearms, particularly among tribes.
Kuwaiti authorities have twice tried to collect forearms from individuals, the security sources told Al Jareeda.
“The first time was following the liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi former regime in 1991 while the second time was right after the terrorist incidents in Um Al Haiman in 2003,” the sources said.
However, the government faced strong resistance from lawmakers who protested against searching homes to look for firearms.
The MPs insisted that giving up firearms should be an individual decision and that people should have the choice to hand in their guns or keep them.
The lawmakers’ stance has allowed the spread of firearms, particularly in the north and south of the country, the sources said.