Turkey’s Umut Foundation calls for gun ownership reform as violence toll soars
The Umut (Hope) Foundation, a prominent NGO dedicated to reducing personal gun ownership, has sent a letter to all political parties and presidential candidates urging them to declare a commitment to curbing “individual armament.”
“We strongly request that you pledge in your election manifestos - loud and clear and without any complications - that legal regulations should and will be passed to prevent and control personal armaments, which claim innocent lives every day. We request that you pledge to make access to guns more difficult in order to decrease rates of violence,” read the letter signed by Umut Vakfı head Nazire Dedeman Çağatay.
“We are worried that individual armament cannot be stopped and it has been skyrocketing, as preventive measures and gun control are not implemented properly. As a result of armament, armed murders, thuggery and clashes have been rising. Families have been suffering, and public conscience and values have been destroyed,” Çağatay added.
The statement noted that five people are killed every day on average in Turkey because of incidents involving personal firearms.
According to the Umut Foundation’s figures, the rate of personal armed violence saw an increase of 61 percent in 2017 compared with 2015.
Compared with the previous year, the annual increase was 28 percent in 2017, in which a total of 2,187 people were killed and 3,529 people were injured in 3,494 incidents.
The rate of homicide in Turkey is about 15 per 100,000 people, well above the world average of 5 per 100,000 people. When the manslaughters committed recklessly are also considered, the rate in Turkey rises to 30 per 100,000 people.
The Umut Foundation made several recommendations for reforms to laws regulating gun ownership to be passed by the next government and parliament that will be formed after the June 24 election.
The minimum age of gun ownership should be raised to 21, gun holders should go through medical examinations every two years, purchasers should declare a justified reason to own a gun, all kinds of gun and weapon advertisements should be banned, and the maximum number of bullets that could be bought by one person should be limited to 200, stated the recommendations.