Bülent Sarıoğlu – ANKARA
A new legal regulation over individual gun ownership should be brought to the Turkish parliament’s agenda, a parliament spokesperson has said, amid a growing concern in Turkey over easy access to guns.
Mustafa Baloğlu, the spokesperson of the parliament’s interior affairs commission, urged some criteria required to own guns and background checks on gun owners should be done more carefully.
“If parents who wish to adopt children are being closely scrutinized, giving out gun licenses should also be done very carefully. Family life and psychiatric conditions should be taken into consideration. Even if a gun license is given like this, it must still be dealt with more care. Anger management is also very important. If potential gun owners have anger issues or psychological problems, this should be determined,” he stressed.
Baloğlu also said interest for weapons differed across regions in Turkey.
“We must determine the requirements for private gun ownership. Possessing guns is a different thing. People who are aware of this should be given licenses if they are under threat or if they really need protection. There are strict articles in the constitution on related issues; on employing a certain number of workers, having certain amount of capital, making a person go through psychological examination in order to determine whether the person is suitable for owning weapons,” Baloğlu said.
He stressed that a crucial problem was the possession of unlicensed guns.
“I must highlight, as a surgeon who once worked at the Taksim Training and Research Hospital, we have mostly treated gunshot injuries. Most cases of gunshot wounds were done by people who owned unlicensed guns. The licensing process should go through serious changes, but we must also build awareness on unlicensed weapons,” he added.
The head of the Turkish Spinal Cord Injury Association, Ramazan Baş, also believes that the easy possession of weapons must be prevented.
“Since the day that we established the Turkish Spinal Cord Injury Association, we have been facing many firearm injuries. These are not even caused by wars; we see that most of the gun violence happens at weddings. People have to be prevented from easily owning weapons,” he said.
There are more than 150,000 people suffering from spinal cord injury in Turkey, 90 percent of who are wheelchair-bound or need the help of someone.
Some 67,960 people were wounded by gunfire between 2006 and 2015, according to data gathered from a forensic institute by Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi.
Some 6,796 people are wounded by guns each year on average, and 18 people are injured on a daily basis.
In the last 10 years, 15,625 people were killed by guns in Turkey.
CHP lawmaker Mehmet Tüm also highlighted that 1,575 people were killed by personal guns and 2,670 were wounded in September only.
He added that 285 out of 363 women had been killed by guns at the hands of violent men this year.