3,028 deaths caused by gun violence in two years: Minister

3,028 deaths caused by gun violence in two years: Minister

Umut Erdem – ANKARA
3,028 deaths caused by gun violence in two years: Minister

Some 3,028 people were killed and 20,324 were injured incidents of gun violence in Turkey between 2016 and 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.

Incidents of gun violence are defined as instances in which people were deliberately killed or injured with a gun. The number from the Interior Ministry excludes suicides (self-inflicted gun violence).

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu cited the figures in an answer to a parliamentary question from Ömer Fethi Gürer, a lawmaker with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

About 273,447 gun licenses have been issued to civilians as of November 2018. Police have confiscated a total of 25,951 unlicensed guns between 2016 and 2018, Soylu said.

Meanwhile, celebratory shooting in the air causes dozens of accidental deaths and hundreds of injuries.

“Between Jan. 1, 2017 – Sept. 1, 2018, our 35 citizens have lost their lives in shooting air incidents, while 600 of our citizens have been injured,” said Soylu, adding that of the 35 killed people, 10 were children, and of the 600 injured people, 311 were children. 

Statistics from the Umut (Hope) Foundation, a prominent Istanbul-based non-governmental organization dedicated to reducing personal gun ownership, show an ever greater number of incidents of gun violence. The foundation compiles its figures from news stories from around the country.

An Umut Foundation report released in January counted last year 3,679 incidents of gun violence involving armed civilians.

Out of those 3,679 incidents, 2,279 people were killed and 3,762 were severely injured, the report stated.

Gürer said gun violence incidents skyrocketed by 69 percent over four years, based on the foundation’s data.

In 2015, the foundation counted only 2,175 incidents of gun violence in news reports.

CHP lawmakers said that, according to research by the Umut Foundation, in 2015, Central Anatolian region provinces saw 283 instances of civilian-perpetrated gun violence, whereas this figure increased to 646 in 2018, marking a 128 percent increase. 

“The Marmara region for which 1,032 gun violence incidents were reflected on the media in 2018, is followed by the Central Anatolian region with 646 incidents, the Mediterranean region with 503 incidents and the Black Sea region with 483 incidents. The assumption that there are at least 25 million unlicensed guns in our country is by itself a worrisome situation,” Güner said.

The Umut Foundation has urged state authorities to take immediate action to end gun violence and regulate the Law on Firearms and Knives and Other Tools.

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