The Seoul government and the ruling Saenuri Party agreed Monday to require all guns to be equipped with GPS tracking system devices in a bid to curb gun violence.
The ruling party said it would pass the motion on stricter gun control during the April session of the National Assembly by holding a series of consultations with relevant ministries, said Saenuri policy committee chairman Won Yoo-chul.
A police officer inspects a gun at an armory in Yeonsu Police Station in Incheon on Friday. (Yonhap)
The move came after two deadly shootings in Sejong and Hwaseong cities last week. During their talks on Monday, lawmakers and policymakers agreed to enhance regulations on hunting rifles, including introducing tougher screening procedures for gun permits and better training for gun owners.
The mandate requires that all guns be tracked with GPS devices. Further, anyone with a prison record would be banned from possessing rifles, according to participants at the meeting.
In addition, ammunition will only be available near hunting grounds, and any unused rounds must be returned to police. Guns must now be stored at designated police stations with jurisdiction over the registered user.
Meeting participants included Saenuri lawmakers and officials from the National Emergency Management Agency and the National Police Agency.
They shared the view that current regulations on rifle usage were relatively lax. Guns can be taken out of any police station in the country and transported freely.
The present law also allows ordinary citizens to possess air rifles with a caliber of up to 5.5 millimeters and up to 400 live bullets. The number of 5.5-millimeter air rifles that are held by individuals is estimated to reach 60,000 units nationwide.
On Feb. 25, a shooting at a GS25 convenience store in Janggun district, Sejong City, left four people dead including the suspect. Police said the suspect set the store on fire before fleeing and was later found dead next to a river in an apparent suicide.
On Feb. 27, a man shot dead two relatives and a policeman with a hunting rifle before killing himself in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.
By Kim Yon-se (email@example.com)