Impact of Gun Control on the Revolution

Alex Krupski

One issue that is always the subject of much debate and speculation in the United States, gun control,  also has a significant impact on Egyptian society. The January revolution in particular, had an incredible effect on the way guns were treated, and viewed in Egyptian society as well as some of the laws that govern them today. Prior to the revolution  the issue of gun control was one widely seen as a way to keep the lower class down, and to cater gun control primarily towards the upper class. It also was not that major of a topic in Egyptian culture, with the majority of the guns concentrated with the police and military forces.  The January Revolution and its immediate aftermath however, spread guns, both legal and illegal across the country. Throughout the Revolution, Police Stations were looted and military stock houses were seized by the protestors, spreading un-registered guns throughout the country. During the early days of the Revolution many people acquired guns out of fear for their safety, but after the violence of the Revolution subsided, these guns remained on the streets and in the hand s of Egyptian citizens, both law abiding and those wishing  to do violence. Another unforeseen consequence of the Revolution was the creation of a black market of sorts, for the sale and trade of weapons. Local craftsmen and blacksmiths have  begun to craft hand-made makeshift weapons out of scrap metal and illegally selling them under the table for extra cash to meet the demand of the Egyptian people for weapons.  Another impact of the Egyptian Revolution was the spread of the information through social media and the idea of revolution. This idea spread to neighboring Libya and in turn the revolution in Libya had an incredible impact on the gun market in Egypt. The power vacuum that resulted in Libya disseminated thousands of illegal guns stolen from Libyan police and Military. These guns wound up on the flowing across the border into Egypt through the newly formed Egyptian “black market for gun”.  This illegal trade over the border only added to the number of unregistered and illegal guns in Egypt. While no one can say for certain whether this is a bad thing, it certainly says something about the state of the Egyptian population  after the January Revolution. The massive power vacuum that was left after the Revolution completely disrupted Egypt’s ability to maintain order within its borders.  Police and military forces could not protect the citizens while gangs and looters ran rampant. This was the initial step that led to the massive grab for weapons by the Egyptian people, showing just how unstable and volatile the situation was and continues to be, albeit not to the same degree as in January 2011. Moving forward to the present day, there is still an abundance of gun trafficking and illegal gun manufacturing within Egypt’s borders. The Egyptian government has made several efforts to curb the sale and spread of these weapons in recent years, offering programs where citizens can turn in illegal weapons without fear of prosecution by the state. While the government has offered complete amnesty the mentality of the Egyptian people is that of mistrust, with many opting to keep their newly acquired weapons. This goes to show how the topic of gun control is still up in the air, and the air of mistrust that still lingers around the new Egyptian government, and the danger that many Egyptians still fear may come to them if they were to give up their weapons.  While the issue of gun control is not the most important, examining how it has changed from before the Revolution to after, reveals how it has played a part in the shaping of modern day Egyptian society. While guns were not very prevalent before the Revolution, after they became integral to the lives of many Egyptian citizens. Out of fear of violence from gangs and looters as well as political mistrust, Egyptians have come to place an immense value on guns. The Revolution set in motion events that would have far reaching impacts in the region, many of which are not fully known. In the coming years it will be important to study how the Egyptian Revolution shaped the region as well as how the region shaped the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution. It will also be crucial to see how  Egyptian society  comes to feel about their newly formed government and the guns which they have newly acquired.

 

SOURCES:

“Firearms-Control Legislation and Policy: Egypt.” Library of Congress Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.
“Smuggled, Stolen and Homemade, Guns Flood Egypt’s Streets | Egypt Independent.” Smuggled, Stolen and Homemade, Guns Flood Egypt’s Streets | Egypt Independent. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.