The Ordinance on Management and Use of Weapons, Explosives and Supporting Tools was passed in June and will take effect on January 1, 2012. The key objective of the Ordinance is to safeguard national security and social order and safety. According to Deputy Minister of Public Security Pham Quy Ngo, there are many legal documents on the issue, but these documents are seen as weak and the country’s changing socio-economic situation demands new legislation.
The 6-chapter and 38-article Ordinance governs the management and use of weapons, explosives and supporting tools. It applies to Vietnamese and foreign agencies, organizations and individuals and international organizations in
Prohibiting personal possession of weapons
Under Article 5 of the Ordinance, individuals are forbidden from possessing weapons, excluding daggers, swords, long-handled spears, long-handled machetes, bayonets, knife-shaped lances, scimitars, clubs, bows and crossbows.
Besides, the article lists other prohibited acts, including:
- Illegally manufacturing, storing, transporting, using, trading, importing or exporting or appropriating weapons, explosives and supporting tools;
- Abusing the use of weapons, explosives or supporting tools to infringe upon the health or lives of other people, or the rights and lawful interests of individuals, agencies or organizations;
- Deliberately destroying or damaging assigned weapons;
- Assigning weapons, explosives and supporting tools to agencies, organizations or persons that fail to fully satisfy set conditions and standards;
- Borrowing, lending, renting, leasing, pledging or mortgaging weapons, explosives or supporting tools or licenses to manufacture, trade, transport or use weapons, explosives or supporting tools; giving away, presenting as gifts or entrusting to others’ care weapons, explosives or supporting tools; and exchanging, trading, forging, tampering with, erasing licenses to manufacture, trade, transport or use weapons, explosives or supporting tools;
- Illegally bringing weapons, explosives or supporting tools into or out of the Vietnamese territory;
- Unsafely transporting or preserving weapons, explosives or supporting tools;
- Illegally trading, giving away, presenting as gifts, borrowing, lending, renting, leasing, pledging or mortgaging discarded and faulty weapons, explosives and supporting tools;
- Excavating and digging to search for weapons, explosives and supporting tools without permission of competent agencies; and
- Other acts in violation of regulations on management and use of weapons, explosives or supporting tools.
Strict provisions on opening of fire
Since opening of fire directly relates to national security, social safety and crime prevention, Article 22 of the Ordinance stipulates the principles and seven cases of fire opening.
Accordingly, the decision to open fire must be based on each circumstance, nature and extent of dangerous acts of subjects. Fire opening must follow the rules: To open fire only when there is no alternative to stop acts of subjects and subjects disobey warnings; if untimely opening of fire will directly threaten the lives and health of one’s own or other persons or may cause other especially serious consequences, to open fire immediately; and not to open fire on subjects when clearly realizing that they are women, disabled persons or children, unless they use weapons or explosives to attack or resist, thus threatening the lives or health of persons on duty or other persons.
The Ordinance confirms that persons assigned to use guns will not bear responsibility for damage when they open fire in accordance with the Ordinance and other relevant laws. However, in all cases of fire opening, gun users should limit the damage caused by the opening of fire.
Equipment of weapons
The Ordinance details persons to be equipped with weapons.
To be equipped with military weapons are People’s Army, People’s Public Security Force, Militia and Self-Defense Forces, forest rangers, full-time anti-smuggling customs forces and border-gate customs units and aviation security personnel.
Sports weapons will be provided to units of the People’s Army, People’s Public Security Force and Militia and Self-Defense Forces, sport clubs, schools and training centers, defense-security education centers and other organizations that need sports weapons for sports practice and competitions, which are established and operate under licenses issued by competent state agencies.
Rudimentary weapons will be supplied to the above-said forces and organizations, inspection teams of the market control force, full-time security boards or teams of agencies, organizations, enterprises and security service enterprises, civil judgment enforcement offices and others as prescribed by law.
As required by the Ordinance, organizations and individuals that are not allowed to possess and use but acquire weapons, explosives and supporting tools from any sources or have detected or collected them, must declare and hand over them to the nearest military or police offices or local administrations.
The Ordinance allows foreign organizations or individuals to bring weapons and supporting tools from abroad into Vietnam for protection of heads and deputy heads of the states, legislative bodies and governments and other guests invited by the Party Central Committee, the President, the National Assembly or the Government of Vietnam, or for sports practice and competitions, exhibition, display, sales promotion or product introduction. The Minister of Public Security will issue regulations on the order, procedures and grant of permits for these cases.
The Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of Industry and Trade are assigned to perform the state management of weapons, explosives and supporting tools under the Ordinance.-