Yesterday, Minister of Interior Affairs Saimir Tahiri presented a new initiative of his ministry entitled “Don’t shoot, but love” (Mos gjuaj, por duaj), asking citizens to hand in illegal firearms to the police.
At the same time he criticized pop musicians for promoting the usage of firearms in their video clips and asked them to join Ministry of Interior Affairs’s initiative.
Today, while distributing aid to the inhabitants of the (still) flooded Tirana neighborhood of Kombinat, Minister Tahiri declared that “voluntarily handing in [illegal firearms] does not constitute a crime.”
However, the Penal Code of Albania qualifies bearing arms without permit to be a felony. Article 278 states:
Bearing arms inside building, without permit of the competent state organs, is punished with imprisonment from one to five years. […]
Bearing arms, carrying bombs, or mines, or explosive materials in cars or any other motorized vehicle, in public environments or environments open to the public, without permit of the competent state organs, is punished with imprisonment from seven to fifteen years.
Before announcing the large publicity campaign, the government should have first passed a legal measure that specifies a period of time during which the voluntary surrender of illegal firearms does not constitute a crime.
In fact, there is precedent for such a legal measure. Article 334/1 specifies that anyone handing in illegal firearms until May 31, 2005, will not be prosecuted under Article 278 cited above.
Until a similar legal measure is passed in Parliament and published in the Fletorja Zyrtare, any citizen that responds to the call of Minister Tahiri risks being punished with prison sentence of seven to fifteen years.