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Authorities in Serbia on Sunday displayed stacks of guns and cartons of hand grenades from the thousands of weapons, including anti-tank rocket launchers, that they said people handed over since back-to-back mass shootings stunned the Balkan nation.
The government declared a one-month amnesty period for citizens to surrender unregistered weapons as part of a crackdown on guns following the two shootings in two days this month that left 17 people dead, many of them children.
Populist President Aleksandar Vucic, whose government has faced public pressure in the wake of the separate shootings at a Belgrade school and in two villages, accompanied top police officials to view the assortment of arms arrayed near the town of Smederevo, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital.
Officials said residents had turned over about 13,500 items since the amnesty opened on May 8.
Photos from the scene showed lines of rifles, automatic weapons and pistols stacked neatly on the floor in a warehouse along with wooden boxes filled with hand grenades.
Serbia has tens of thousands of weapons brought in from the battlefields of the 1990s wars in the Balkans. Similar weapons amnesties were held in the past with only limited success.
Vucic said that approximately half of the arms collected since last week had been held illegally, while the other half were registered weapons that citizens nonetheless decided to part with. The relinquished weapons will go to Serbian arms and ammunition factories for potential use by the country’s armed forces, the president said.
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