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Myanmar’s military junta will allow citizens “loyal to the state” to apply for licenses to carry weapons, as the army continues to face armed resistance following its coup two years ago, Al Jazeera reported.

The new policy will allow civilians over the age of 18 to be licensed to carry various types of guns and ammunition. Public servants and retired military personnel are included in the new rules.

Officials said the new policy revived a 1977 law on gun ownership that was later repealed following the 1988 uprising against a previous military regime.

To obtain a weapon, recipients of gun permits must be loyal to the country and “of good moral character,” as well as not be involved in “disturbing state security.” They should also comply with orders to take part in “security, law enforcement, and stability” as well as “crime prevention measures.”

The policy change comes as Myanmar is grappling with an ongoing crisis since the military launched a coup against the democratically-elected civilian government in February 2021.

Anti-junta protests have swept the country, prompting the army to launch a bloody crackdown against protesters. But the situation has escalated as armed resistance groups have emerged across the country, sometimes training and fighting alongside ethnic armed organizations that have been fighting the military for decades.

The United Nations has described the two-year crisis as a civil war, adding that around 1.2 million people have been displaced due to the fighting.

The non-governmental organization, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, estimated that more than 31,000 people have died since the coup – civilians and combatants alike.

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