A Farewell to Arms
Listen to Today's Edition
The Serbian government collected thousands of firearms this week as part of a campaign to reduce the number of weapons in the hands of civilians, following two mass shootings that rattled the Balkan nation earlier this month, the New York Times reported.
President Aleksandar Vucic said more than 9,000 illegal and legal firearms have been collected, calling the effort “a great step forward for a safer environment for our children” and “all our people.”
He did not specify what proportion of the weapons were handed over voluntarily or seized: Authorities have been raiding homes around the country to seize arms.
The announcement comes days after the government unveiled a new amnesty program that would give gun owners one month to surrender illegal weapons without penalty.
The program follows two shootings that killed 17 people, including a school shooting that killed eight children and a security guard.
Vucic proposed gun-control measures after the shootings, including a two-year moratorium on new gun licenses and enhanced surveillance of shooting ranges.
Despite the government’s efforts, tens of thousands of people protested in the capital Belgrade on Friday, blaming Vucic for fostering a divisive and hopeless atmosphere that contributed to the recent shootings, the Associated Press added.
Protesters and opposition politicians called for the president’s resignation. Vucic, meanwhile, criticized the protest as “violence in politics” and accused the opposition of exploiting the tragedy.