Sun, Jan 19, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Jordan’s gun industry booms on Syrian spillover fears

By Mussa Hattar  /  AFP, AMMAN

Concerned at the rapid weaponization of the kingdom, Amman has banned the issuing of licenses and the renewal of permits to carry firearms. It has also stopped giving permits for the opening of new gun shops.

Yet this has not stopped a thriving trade via Facebook, where thousands of people are trying to sell and buy weapons on a firearms classifieds site.

“The Syrian crisis has created new and different kinds of burdens, including arms trafficking,” Jordanian Minister of Information Mohammad Momani said. “But Jordan’s armed forces are capable of controlling the situation and the government is closely monitoring any illegal activities.”

Police last week said they swooped on an illegal weapons-making operation in the city of Irbid and made several arrests.

Jordan has also jailed dozens of men convicted of trying to enter Syria to fight alongside rebel forces.

“There are hundreds or maybe thousands of Muslim extremists fighting in Syria. Most of them are Jordanians, so whether they win or lose, people here want to be ready,” resident Abu Omar said as he examined handguns at a shop in the Jordanian capital.

The shop owner agreed.

“The high prices will not stop people from buying weapons as long as the situation in Syria remains dangerous and unpredictable,” he added.

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