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The new draft law on cold weapons - what kind of problems may be faced by individuals and the development of historical tourism in Georgia
30 December, 2022

Discussion of the draft law initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia regarding amendments to the law "On Weapons" is ongoing in the Parliament of Georgia.  A number of organizations and individuals, including gun owners, see a lot of problems in the mentioned document and think that if the law comes into force in the form presented in this document, it will not only hurt individuals, but it will also cause great damage to the country's image and tourism.

 Davit Nasaridze ("Chokha", ethnoguide, collector, head of the "Georgian Weapons Museum"):

 - During 2022, I took part in several public holidays, these were: Martyopoba, Marabdoba, Krstanisoba and Erekleoba.  I had an official invitation from the regions and local municipalities.  I had taken a large number of items for display at the mentioned events, and this included both firearms and cold weapons.  As a result of the invitation at the state level, so far there has not been an exhibition of this number of weapons.  Since there was a great interest in the mentioned events and the law did not prohibit it, I invested a lot of financial resources to enrich the collection and added old, collectible, display weapons to my personal collection.  At this stage, the vague law on cold weapons is being discussed, where it is written that it is not allowed to bring, move, demonstrate and manufacture cold weapons in public gathering places.  Since it is not specified in detail what is meant by this, a cold weapon can be considered as an old collector's item, as well as a new, replica, or even a souvenir.  This means that the private museum and the collector have no right to exhibit, move and deliver cold weapons anywhere.

- Exceptions are not allowed?

 - No.  My invitation to the public holidays, and not the state museum, had the advantage that I could take my collection and display it in a specific place, while in state museums there are a number of bureaucratic issues to go through, which take time and require additional financial and human resources.  If, according to the new law, I and collectors like me are prohibited from moving around with cold weapons, exhibiting and demonstrating, it turns out that fencing, khridol, activities of «black shields», etc.  not directly, but indirectly will be prohibited.  In case of violation of the law, a large fine will be issued and the item will be confiscated.  This law has already passed two hearings and will probably be approved in the third.  At the same time, there is a discussion about firearms, where there is also no concreteness and it is not written what is considered a collector's weapon.  There is also nothing written about the military reconstruction, during which the weapons and clothes that characterized this or that era are presented, and according to the new law, it turns out that it is allowed to present  a chocha.  Such events and festivals bring a lot of income to the country. If all this is banned, historical tourism in Georgia will not be able to develop, and will die.  Naturally, this is a big loss not only for us, but for the country.

Everyone should understand that people come to Georgia not only to take part in khinkali  and elarji master class, but also to get to know the history, martial traditions, and unfortunately, they do not realize that after this law comes into force, tourism will lose millions.  At the same time, blacksmithing as an industry will eventually die out, as swords or other weapons will no longer produced on a large scale at this point.  Several organizations and we tried to raise our voice against this law, but to no avail.  We are not criminals, but military historians and reenactors, and I would like our opinion to be taken into account;  and I and others were given the opportunity to continue our work as it was done before.

Author: Anna Kalandadze

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