Weapons handed over to police in the first ten days of gun amnesty are pictured in police storage following mass shootings in the country, near Smederevo, Serbia, May 14, 2023. (REUTERS/Marko Djurica TPX)

In an urgent effort by the government to disarm society, Serbs are given a deadline of June 8 to surrender any unregistered weapons, prompted by a series of devastating back-to-back mass shootings. The Balkans nation, known for its infrequent occurrence of mass shootings, was deeply shaken by two such incidents that occurred in quick succession during the early days of May.

According to Fox:

In response to the twin tragedies, President Aleksandar Vucic set out on a mission to cleanse Serbia of firearms. Unlike most European countries, Serbia has many illegal guns throughout its society. Serbia has been awash in guns and the proliferation of firearms is mostly a legacy of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Serbia is tied for third with Montenegro in gun ownership in the world, behind the United States and Yemen.

There are 39 firearms for every 100 residents in Serbia and an estimated 2.7 million firearms are in civilian possession, including 1.5 million unregistered firearms, according to a 2018 report from the Small Arms Survey.

Perhaps in the most sweeping government action, Vucic ordered that all citizens turn in their unregistered weapons and ammunition to authorities by June 8. Anyone who fails to surrender their weapons during the one-month amnesty period will face stiff penalties and possibly even prison time.

While many in Serbia blame Vucic for the general culture of promoting violence in the media, disarming the population is mostly a welcome measure.

In a gripping display of unity and resilience, Serbia finds itself at a crossroads where grief intertwines with the urgent need for change. With the nation still reeling from the unexpected menace that has brought daily existence to a standstill, the spirit of its people continues to burn brightly. Sparked by an outpouring of raw emotion, multitudes have flooded the streets in a powerful wave of protest, tirelessly urging their government to confront the ever-looming specter of violence.

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