Montenegro marks International Small Arms Destruction Day

Jul 9, 2015

Montenegro marks July 9th, International Small Arms Destruction Day by melting down 857 pieces and 188 parts of light weapons. The destruction of weapons was organized at the Institute for Ferrous Metallurgy in Niksic, by the Ministry of the Interior, with support from the European Union, UNDP/SEESAC(South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons) and OSCE.

Through such activities Montenegro participates in coordinated regional endeavours in order to raise awareness about the illegal small arms and light weapons (SALW) in the Western Balkan countries.

International Small Arms Destruction Day is a great opportunity to be reminded about the dangers that the surplus of weapons represents for our safety and security. The proliferation of SALW still affects security of the Western Balkans. UNDP/SEESAC provide support to the partners at all levels in the region since 2002, with an aim to eliminate proliferation of illegal SALW.

Legally confiscated weapons were destroyed together with the SALW gathered through campaign „Respect Life, Surrender Weapons“, which is implemented by the Ministry of the Interior, in partnership with the UNDP, OSCE Mission to Montenegro, Centre for Democratic Transition, and with financial support of the EU and German Embassy to Montenegro.

The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of possessing illegal weapons, help reduce the number of illegal SALW possessed by citizens, as well as to inform the citizens about the recently adopted Law on Weapons.

The procedure for returning weapons is simple and it has three steps- call, report and surrender the weapons. Citizens should call either 122 (Police) or 080 888 888 (Centre for Democratic Transition) to report that they would like to return weapons, arrange the place and time of turning in their weapons, so that the professionals from police and CDT can come to collect the weapons on the spot. It is important to emphasize that weapons must not be carried by the citizens.

Citizens should be reminded that illegal possession of arms and explosive substances is a criminal offense for which a prison sentence of six months to five years is prescribed by the Law. The impunity for returning the weapons is valid only if the citizen decides to do it voluntarily. If police officers, during the course of their activities, find weapons in illegal possession, a criminal charge will be filed against the citizen holding illegal weapons.

Moreover, the Law on Weapons envisages a possibility of registration of illegally possessed weapons. All relevant information about the legalization process is available at the Ministry of Interior website or at the police stations or administrative internal affairs units across the country. While the voluntary surrendering of weapons is not time-bounded, legalization can be done only until March 2017.

Furthermore, having in mind that a great number of licenses have expired, the citizens are obliged to get a new one. The Ministry of the Interior has, with accordance of the article 24 of the Law on Weapons, announced a new deadline for issuance of new licenses and citizens whose licenses have expired will soon receive an official call to submit the application until December 31st, 2015. If weapon-owner is unable to meet the deadline due to justified reasons, he/she is obliged to request a new deadline from the Ministry of the Interior. Also, if a weapon-owner does not act in the manner or within the deadlines given, the weapons will be confiscated.

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