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Ireland to hold weapons amnesty in attempt to cut gun crime

Ireland will hold a two-month weapons amnesty, allowing people to hand in guns and knives in an attempt to cut the number of murders in the country. People will be able to take weapons to police stations without being prosecuted for illegal possession, Justice Minister Michael McDowell said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Tougher penalties for gun crime will be introduced after the amnesty.

Eighteen people died in gang shootings in Ireland last year, more than twice the number in 2004. The amnesty will run from tomorrow until the end of October, the government said. „Every weapon surrendered during the amnesty should help to make our communities safer,” McDowell said in the statement, though he said he doesn't believe „large numbers of hardened criminals are going to hand over their firearms.” From November, people convicted of possessing firearms with intent to endanger life will face a minimum 10-year jail sentence, McDowell said. Other crimes, including possessing firearms while hijacking a vehicle, will lead to a minimum five-year term. (Bloomberg)