Experts weigh in on ‘cold weapon’ regulation

The experts interviewed by Jordan News underlined that legislation is a contributing factor in violent crimes that do not involve firearms. (Photo: Pxfuel)
AMMAN — In light of recent violent offenses, some have begun to raise their concerns that existing penalties are an insufficient deterrent to carrying “cold weapons”.اضافة اعلان

Cold weapons are those that do not involve fire or explosion, such as bladed weapons. Articles 155 and 156 of the Penal Code stipulate that whoever carries or possesses “cold weapons” shall be punished for no more than six months in prison and shall be fined JD10.

Jordan News spoke to Firas, a licensed arms and ammunition dealer who only wanted to be identified by a single name, and asked him to compare his sales of cold weapons and firearms.

"Although the arms trade is about to disappear as people have stopped buying them, I can't say which type of weapons are more popular with people," he said.

Firas said that if someone wants to commit a crime they do not have to purchase a weapon, as cold weapons are part of people’s day-to-day life, and can simply be obtained from the kitchen. He argued that this is why cold weapons are preferred by those wishing to commit violence.

Civil and criminal lawyer Awni Abu Rumman told Jordan News that he does not think the law falls short in its deterrent role, but that tools like knives — which fall into the category of “cold weapons” — are so ubiquitous and necessary in daily life that the likelihood of people carrying them is much greater, unlike firearms.

“What we really need is to research why people carry — and then use — weapons to harm others, and other violent behavior,” Abu Rumman said, before tragedy strikes.

Sociologist Hussein Al-Khuzai said people need to stop blaming the law and start addressing the root of the problem, which is the absence of conflict-resolution, de-escalation, and certain people’s inability to deal with problems.
“All this, in addition to a person’s environment, are what make a person ‘bad’. Twelve percent of violent criminals were raised in formerly violent families or criminal families,” Khuzai said.

He clarified that in most cases, perpetrators of violent crimes resort to the use of knives with the aim of threatening and intimidating, rather than with the aim of causing great harm or murder.

Khuzai did not think that changing the laws and raising the penalty for acquiring non-firearm weapons has a real role in deterring criminals. He said that 39 percent of the estimated 6,000 incarcerated criminals in the country are repeat offenders.

“They don’t mind returning to prison, and may even deliberately commit violence until they are returned to prison if they are released,” Khuzai said. "They are used to being in prison, and they consider it to be their community. It is also impossible to correct their behavior or rehabilitate them,” he contended.

Samih Khreis, a lawyer, agreed with Khuzai’s assessment. “To argue that the Penal Code contributes to encouraging criminals ... isn’t accurate,” he said.
“Knives and the like are essential needs and their owner can carry them for many purposes outside the home, so punishing anyone who carries a cold weapon is both illogical and unreasonable,” Khreis said.

He said that criminal and violent behavior is something originates from the individual, the environment in which they were raised, and the extent to which they are aware of their actions. The law has nothing to do with what is happening, he insisted.

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