Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
11:39 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Gun prices, sales rise in Jordan over Syria war fears
Agence France Presse
Rifles are displayed at a gun shop on January 9, 2014, in the Jordanian capital Amman. Firearm prices in Jordan have soared tenfold since the war in neighbouring Syria erupted in 2011 but more people than ever are buying guns for protection against a possible spillover of the violence.   AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI
Rifles are displayed at a gun shop on January 9, 2014, in the Jordanian capital Amman. Firearm prices in Jordan have soared tenfold since the war in neighbouring Syria erupted in 2011 but more people than ever are buying guns for protection against a possible spillover of the violence. AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI
A+ A-

AMMAN: Firearm prices in Jordan have soared tenfold since the war in neighboring Syria erupted in 2011 but more people than ever are buying guns for protection against a possible spillover of the violence.

The number of licensed weapons stands at 120,000 but there are more than 1 million unlicensed guns in the kingdom of 7 million people, according to Interior Ministry estimates.

According to a study by the Jordanian Society for Political Sciences, 25 percent of Jordanians own guns, legally and illegally.

“The conflict in Syria makes people feel unsafe. They do not know what is coming in the future,” Seri Nasser, social sciences professor at the University of Jordan, told AFP.

“Jordanians buy guns to protect themselves because they think that security services are incapable of meeting their expectations.”

The war has taken a toll on the kingdom, which is home to more than 500,000 Syrian refugees, most of them in the north, where frustrated Jordanians say they have become almost a minority.

Some have repeatedly complained that the refugees are burdening the country’s scarce resources and competing with them for jobs, while others say they fear the rise of Islamist power in Syria.

“Since violence started in Syria three years ago, demand for weapons has become very high,” Abu Samaan said at his gun shop in Amman.

“People are scared and they want to protect their lives and property,” said the 68-year-old, clad in an olive camouflage uniform.

The gun dealer, who has been in the business since the late 1960s, added that “customers are mainly looking for automatic weapons.”

Prices of some weapons have rocketed tenfold, with a Belgian-made M9 Browning pistol leaping from 200 Jordanian dinars ($282) to more than 1,800 dinars.

Similarly, the price of a Spanish-made Star M9 pistol went up from 200 dinars to 2,000 dinars and an Italian-made M7 Beretta pistol from 120 dinars to 1,000 dinars.

“Very high demand, particularly for automatic weapons, which have become scarce in the market, has led to sharp increase in prices of weapons in general,” Abu Samaan said.

With tidy profits to be made, smuggling has become big business, as has the illegal sale of weapons.

“There are 95 licensed gun shops in Jordan, but it is difficult to determine the number of other arm dealers, particularly with the current high level of smuggling,” a security source told AFP.

In the view of Rasmi Abdullah, a 47-year-old hunter, the Syrian conflict is the main factor driving Jordanians to buy weapons.

“The war has seriously affected people. Fearing violence will reach Jordan, they feel the need to buy guns for self-defense,” said Abdullah as he visited Abu Samaan’s shop to stock up with ammunition – which he found had doubled in price.

Smuggled Turkish-made pump-action shotguns and tactical M7 pistols are favored because of their relative cheapness, he said.

Shotguns, for example, go for 600 dinars, while the price of an AK-47 automatic rifle has soared from 200 dinars two years ago to more than 3,000 dinars now.

Last month, Jordanian border guards said that arms smuggling has increased between Jordan and Syria by 300 percent, adding that they have foiled hundreds of trafficking attempts, while the military state security court is examining several related cases.

Concerned at the rapid weaponization of the kingdom, the government 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.

But 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,” Information Minister Mohammad Momani told AFP.

“But Jordan’s armed forces are capable of controlling the situation and the government is closely monitoring any illegal activities.”

Police Saturday said they had swooped on an illegal weapons-making operation in the northern city of Irbid and had 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,” said fearful Abu Omar, as he examined handguns at a shop in Amman.

“At the same time, it is good business for dealers,” he added.

The shop owner agreed.

“In the past, Jordanians bought guns to show off. Now they are buying guns left and right for protection,” he said.

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

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 16, 2014, on page 8.
Home Middle East
 
     
 
firearms / Jordan / Syrian war / Syria
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
Firearm prices in Jordan have soared tenfold since the war in neighboring Syria erupted in 2011 but more people than ever are buying guns for protection against a possible spillover of the violence.

The number of licensed weapons stands at 120,000 but there are more than 1 million unlicensed guns in the kingdom of 7 million people, according to Interior Ministry estimates.

Prices of some weapons have rocketed tenfold, with a Belgian-made M9 Browning pistol leaping from 200 Jordanian dinars ($282) to more than 1,800 dinars.

Similarly, the price of a Spanish-made Star M9 pistol went up from 200 dinars to 2,000 dinars and an Italian-made M7 Beretta pistol from 120 dinars to 1,000 dinars.

Shotguns, for example, go for 600 dinars, while the price of an AK-47 automatic rifle has soared from 200 dinars two years ago to more than 3,000 dinars now.

Jordan has also jailed dozens of men convicted of trying to enter Syria to fight alongside rebel forces.
Related Articles
 
 
Pro-Russian militants seize hundreds of guns
 
 
Pro-Russian militants seize hundreds of guns
 
 
Jordan king to hold Syria talks in Russia on Wednesday
 
 
Jordan amends anti-terror law to face Syria fallout
 
 
Syria refugees face growing challenges in Jordan urban areas
Show More
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS