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Myanmar's junta to let 'loyal' citizens carry firearms, ammunition

Myanmarese soldiers stand guard on a road amid anti-coup protests in Naypyidaw. (AFP file photo)

Myanmar’s military government has decided to allow citizens who are "loyal to the state" to be licensed to carry several types of guns and ammunition.

The generals who took power two years ago in a coup d'état planned to allow citizens over age 18 to apply for licenses to keep five different types of firearms, including pistols and hunting rifles.

Under the policy, recipients of gun permits must be "loyal to the nation, of good moral character" and not have been involved in "disturbing state security" issues, according to documents allegedly leaked to local media.

Permit holders must also comply when ordered by local authorities to take part in "security, law enforcement, and stability" as well as "crime prevention measures," says a 15-page document on gun licensing.

The junta describes its opponents as "terrorists."

The move comes as the junta is facing ever-growing resistance nationwide from People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) and ethnic armed organizations.

Myanmar has been in chaos since the military seized control on February 1, 2021. The UN estimates that some 14,000 people have been arrested and at least 2,000 killed since then.

Late last year, the United Nations Security Council voted in favor of the first ever resolution on Myanmar in more than seven decades, calling on the military rulers to end violence and release all political prisoners. The 15-member Council urged the junta to "immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners," including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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