Govt preparing firearms amnesty to curb violence

Govt preparing firearms amnesty to curb violence
Govt preparing firearms amnesty to curb violence
Authorities display the weapons that were seized during one of numerous prosecutions on the use and possession of firearms illegally. ( Image: Somchai Poomlard )

The Interior Ministry has been given the task of researching ways to spare those who hand over fraudulently obtained firearms from abuse.

Following Tuesday’s standard case meet, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin made the announcement.

He declared that the government would create an asylum to entice those who possess firearms illegally to give them up within a predetermined time frame in order to avoid punishment. This could take the form of a royal proclamation and would n’t violate any pertinent laws.

According to the prime minister, the action was taken to lessen murder in Thailand amid the widespread unlawful use of firearms.

Due to major crimes like the shootings in a Bangkok shopping mall that killed three people in October of last year and the Nong Bua Lam Phu hospital murder in 2022, people concern about firearms has increased recently.

According to the Ministry of Interior, there were more than 6 million weapon registered statewide as of 2023, but officials estimate there are up to 4 million illegal arms, many of which are smuggled into the country or come from countries that have been torn apart by conflict.

Another issue has been the so-called “welfare weapons” program, which enables authorities and other public officials to purchase inexpensive weapons. According to local gun dealers, many of those arms are resold for profit.

In 2017 and 2020, the US company Sig Sauer signed two significant contracts with the Royal Thai Police to provide 400,000 artillery as part of the program.

By way, Thailand is the world’s largest market for semiautomatic weapons produced in the US. According to a Bloomberg investigation, the United States exported 795 000 of these weapons to Thailand between 2005 and 2022, or 21.5 % of the 3.7 million total arms exported worldwide.

Gun ownership is large compared to some other Southeast Asian nations, but illegal firearm possession carries a prison sentence of up to 10 times and fines of as much as 20,000 baht.

Applicants for a weapons manager’s license must provide an actual justification for owning the weapon, such as for hunting or gathering. The person must be at least 20 years old and go through background checks that take into account criminal history, money, and personal conduct.

The government tightened gun ownership regulations in the wake of the Nong Bua Lam Phu nursery massacre in 2022, mandating routine mental health examinations and withdrawing licenses for registered users who allegedly behaved in a way that” threats world” and” creates conflict or causes turmoil.”