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New weapons law comes into force

Published on June 08, 2006

8 June 2006

BRUSSELS — Tighter gun control legislation comes into force on Friday following its accelerated passing through the Belgian Parliament after the Antwerp racist murders.

“From tomorrow, no single weapon will be free to purchase,” Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx said on Thursday.

It means simply being an adult and showing ID will not be deemed sufficient in future.

Instead, potential gun owners will undergo a three-month practical and theoretical procedure coupled with a police screening before they are granted a permit to buy a gun.

The new regulations are designed to prevent impulse gun purchases, an act that allegedly contributed to the Antwerp shooting on 11 May.

The new legislation will be published in the federal government newspaper on Friday, signifying its coming into effect.
Under the new laws, owners of banned weapons such as automatic guns can be criminally prosecuted.

Those in possession of such guns will have six to 12 months to report to authorities and hand the gun over. Those who have an illegal weapon will also be granted a six-month amnesty.

The federal legislation will also tighten gun permit regulations. Those who buy a gun after 1 January 2007 will only gain a one-year permit.

Those who already had a gun will retain a permit for a period of five years.

Tough penalties accompany the new laws, stipulating a five-year jail term and fine of up to EUR 25,000.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news