Procurement: Arab Civilians Awash In Arms


November 5, 2009: Saudi Arabia has a problem with an armed citizenry. Until two years ago, there were few laws regulating civilian ownership of guns. Basically, any adult male Saudi who wanted a gun, could buy one. Now there are a host of laws regulating gun ownership, and where they can be used. For example, the Saudis have tried, with limited success, to ban the firing of weapons (into the air, for the most part) during wedding, and other, celebrations. This custom causes hundreds of injures (and a few deaths) a year. But the main reason for the new laws was to control the use of guns by Islamic terrorists.

Recently, the police discovered a buried cache of weapons, apparently hidden away by some of the 44 Islamic terrorists that are still being sought. The cache contained 281 assault rifles and 41,000 rounds of ammunition. Three months ago, police found another cache containing 17 rifles, 50 assault rifles, ammunition and 96 detonators for explosives.

Thus while guns may be harder to obtain now, there are still hundreds of thousands of rifles out there that terrorists could obtain via a thriving black market in weapons. It will take decades for the supply of weapons to shrink to manageable (for the police) levels.



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