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People hand in unlicensed arms, ammunition to police in France

Rifles, pistols, ammunition, knives and grenades have been handed in at 300 collection points throughout France.

French gun owners are turning over their guns to police collection points across the country this week as part of a campaign to track down unlicensed firearms, often heirlooms that are lying in the attic or forgotten in the back of cupboards.

Gun ownership is not nearly as widespread in France as it is in the United States, for example, and gun crimes are relatively rare, but France is keen to limit the number of illegal firearms — to as many as six million, authorities estimate.

“They belonged to my father and I didn’t know what to do with them,” Lionel said at a police station in Nice in the south of France, where he handed over his guns. “I don’t really like guns, and since there is a way to get rid of them properly, there must come a time when you have to get rid of such keepsakes.”

Residents queue to hand over their undeclared firearms at a police station in Nice [Eric Gaillard/Reuters]

Since the start of the Ministry of the Interior campaign on November 25, guns, small arms, ammunition, knives and grenades have been returned to 300 collection points across France.

Those who bring in the guns will not be punished. They can register them or leave them with the police.

By Wednesday, 65,000 firearms had been turned in, along with 1.6 million bullets and other projectiles.

Undeclared Ammunition Is Seen At A Police Station In Nice
Undeclared ammunition at a police station in Nice [Eric Gaillard/Reuters]

“This campaign is to help the French hand over these objects, which are quite cumbersome for most,” said police commander Florence Gavello at the assembly point in Nice.

“When we talk to them, they’re really happy to be rid of them.”

The campaign will end on Friday, after which collected weapons will be handed over to museums or destroyed.

Undeclared Firearms Owned By Residents Are Seen At A Police Station In Nice
Undeclared firearms owned by residents are seen at a police station in Nice [Eric Gaillard/Reuters]

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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