CAIRO: All licenses to own weapons issued in 2012 to members of “violent groups” should be revoked by the Interior Ministry, according to a Monday ruling by the Alexandria Court of Administrative Justice.
The ruling is based on a lawsuit filed by leading Muslim Brotherhood member and former Member of Parliament Gamal Heshmat against the police, who had canceled his 2012 license to obtain a firearm.
The police accuse Heshmat of using his weapon in an Islamist protest in Beheira, north of the Delta, following the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi against policemen and anti-Muslim Brotherhood civilians. Heshmat is wanted in a criminal case, but has reportedly been out of Egypt shortly after Morsi’s ouster.
The ruling criticized Morsi’s 2012 presidential decree, where he allowed people who possess unlicensed arms to not be punished provided that they turn them in to the authorities.
The decree allowed persons who unlawfully acquired weapons from police stations and prisons raided during the January 25 Revolution in 2011 to walk free with impunity, the ruling stated.
Meanwhile, the court hailed President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s September 2014 decree toughening the penalty of owning unlicensed weapons.
In June 2015, Egypt’s Cabinet agreed on establishing the “General Department of Unlicensed Arms and Ammunition,” to combat the acquisition of unlicensed weapons, according to a Wednesday report by the State Information Service (SIS.)
Licit and illicit guns held by civilians in Egypt were estimated at 1.9 million in 2007, with 3.5 firearms per 100 people. Egypt ranks 115 out of 178 countries in terms of private gun ownership, according to Gun Policy, a website managed by the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health in Australia.