A week-long weapons amnesty is beginning today (November 25) in France, to give people with undeclared guns, knives and other tools the opportunity either to register them or to dispose of them safely.
The objective is to avoid such weapons being used in situations of domestic abuse or neighbour disputes. Getting rid of undeclared weapons will also mean that they cannot be stolen during a burglary, which happens to 8,000 weapons each year.
Until December 2, it will be possible either to declare illegally held weapons or to surrender them, as 300 collection sites are set up across France. These places will be open from 09:00 until 17:00, seven days a week.
Some 5,000 officers are mobilised in gendarmeries, police stations, stadiums and shooting clubs. The Fédération des chasseurs has also pledged to provide volunteers.
The interior ministry estimates that two million people illegally own between five and six million weapons, which they have perhaps inherited or found.
Getting rid of a weapon
If you have an undeclared weapon that you want to get rid of – whether a gun, knife, sword, ammunition or other equipment – you can go to one of these sites and hand it in.
However, it will not be possible to go to one of these collection points with a grenade, shell, explosives or an engin de guerre war weapon.
If you have one of these objects, your prefecture will have put in place a specific helpline number through which you can ask a mine-sweeping unit to come and collect it from your home.
This phone number will also help people with reduced mobility, those who do not have the means of transport to get to a collection point or who live in Paris and the surrounding area.
The weapons will then be destroyed, unless they have cultural or historical value.
A list of all the collection points in France can be found here.
After December 2, it will still be possible to hand in weapons, but the person may risk a penalty if they are responsible for the weapon having been held illegally.
Registering a weapon
Those who wish to keep their weapon can declare it without going to a collection point. Instead, they should “take photos, which will enable them to enter them into the interior ministry system,” Mr Merandat said.
They will also need their ID and proof of address, and will then be able to complete the process online.