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Saudi Arabia to enforce celebratory gunfire ban

Campaign seeks to increase awareness about mortal threats from aerial firing

Gulf News

Manama: Saudi Arabia has reiterated its ban on celebratory gunfire, pledging that violators would be imprisoned and fined.

The culturally accepted practice has often resulted in accidental deaths and Riyadh said that it wanted an end to the tragedies by banning the habit.

Interior Minister Prince Ahmad Bin Abdul Aziz has told all governorates, districts as well as competent security and investigation agencies to apply the rules against anyone who fires during special occasions and wedding ceremonies, the official Saudi news agency reported.

Police have been assigned to monitor palaces, wedding halls and relaxation areas to ensure full compliance with the law amid warnings that whoever broke the law would be severely punished, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The decision for the zero-tolerance policy was made following a noticeable increase in the incidence of fatal and serious injuries for innocent people by stray bullets during public celebrations. The celebratory gunfire is also a violation of public order, the agency said.

Celebratory gunfire is common in the Middle East, but also in South Asia and South America.

Last month, Indian media reported that a man, 23, was killed in celebratory firing at the engagement ceremony of a relative in South-West Delhi.

In July, a nine-year-old lost his life to celebratory firing in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly District.