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Arming up

Arming up

Saudi has just introduced new laws allowing private companies to sell firearms. Is the kingdom arming itself?

October 18, 2009 4:14 by

The country has also become more liberal in terms of the acquiring of personal arms. In 2004, it lifted a law that banned foreigners from owning guns after a spate of violence against expatriates in the country. Until then, all non-citizens, including private security guards, were banned from carrying arms.

“In principle, a Saudi has the right to carry a weapon, if he has a permit,” the Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz said at the time. “Likewise a foreign resident, if he felt in danger, he could get a permit to carry a weapon.”

The criteria for holding weapons include a fresh antecedent’s certificate, a copy of the civil status card, and three photos, says Arab News.According to the 2007 bill for arms and ammunition

,a person has to be aged above 21 to get the license and has to be in “sound mental and physical health.” The bill also increased the license validity from five to 10 years if renewed three months before the expiry date. Those found having firearms to be without a license will be fined SR600 ($160) and face eight months imprisonment, it added.

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