Serbia Reflects on Gun Ownership After Mass Shootings

In Serbia, where guns are so prolific they are a regular part of wedding and birthday celebrations, two mass shootings in two days have led to a reckoning about the role of deadly weapons in the culture.

The shootings, in which 17 people were killed and 21 were injured, led the country’s president this week to call for sweeping changes to Serbia’s gun laws. But many Serbs say a crackdown, in a country with a deep-seated tradition of gun ownership and vast quantities of illegal weapons, will be impossible.

“It’s in our culture, sons inherit guns from their fathers and grandfathers,” said Miriana Marinkovic, 39, adding that people would not turn in their firearms so easily. “They will dig up holes and bury the weapons; they will hide them in wells and even in graveyards.”

Widespread gun ownership is largely a legacy of the wars that came after the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Around 400,000 people, about 6 percent of the population, legally own guns, excluding…

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This article was written by Constant Méheut and originally published on