Gov’t aims at illegal weapons

With more than a million-and-a-half illegal guns in the country, the Public Order Ministry is working on a draft bill that will update local gun laws and help flush unlawful weapons out of the system, government sources said. Of the 1.5 million weapons that have not been declared, authorities estimate that about 800,000 are hunting rifles. Most of these guns, some 600,000, are said to be on the island of Crete. There are additionally about one million legal hunting rifles in Greece. Authorities consider both the number of registered and unregistered weapons large in proportion to Greece's population of 11 million. Authorities will give gun owners a final chance to declare their weapons by the end of the year. Gun collectors have until August 2006 to properly register their weapons. After these deadlines, people who own unregistered weapons will face financial penalties, sources said. The draft bill will also help bring the country's gun laws in line with European Union guidelines.