May 5, 2023 - World
Serbia president promises to "disarm" country after back-to-back mass shootings
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić promised Friday to pursue an "almost complete disarming of Serbia" after two mass shootings in 48 hours left a combined 17 people dead.
The big picture: Serbia has one of the world's highest rates of gun ownershi, due in part to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, but mass shootings had been very rare before this week.
- A seventh-grader allegedly killed eight classmates and a security guard on Wednesday at a school in Belgrade.
- Then, on the outskirts of the capital on Friday, a 21-year-old man allegedly opened fire from a moving vehicle with an automatic rifle, killing eight people in what police called a "terrorist act."
- The suspect was reportedly wearing a shirt with a white nationalist slogan.
Vučić had already announced new gun control measures after the first shooting, but on Friday asked the Interior Ministry to implement more sweeping measures that he claimed would reduce the number of pistols and handguns in circulation by 90%.
- The new steps include tightening registration policies for gun owners, who will now have to submit to drug testing and psychological evaluation, cracking down on those who possess guns illegally, and offering an amnesty for those who turn in unregistered firearms.
- Vučić also said more police would be assigned to guard schools.
- “We’ve been walking around like zombies the last 24 hours, looking for a reason something like this could happen,” Vučić said on Friday.