Rules on carrying firearms for rangers still awaiting approval

October 20, 2018

TEHRAN – While a bill to uphold the rights of rangers, including rules on carrying and use of firearms, has been approved by the judiciary committee of Majlis [Iranian parliament] in late September, it is still waiting for approval, ISNA reported on Friday.

“The Majlis speaker Ali Larijani has agreed to review the bill urgently to be passed soon by the parliament,” Jamshid Mohabbat Khani an official with the Department of Environmental (DOE) has said.

The bill was drafted in July 2016 by the Department of Environment (DOE) following the death of two rangers, Mohammad Dehqani and Parviz Hormozi, who were killed in June 2016 during an armed conflict with poachers in Hormozgan province.  

The country’s current gun rules and regulations for rangers sound inefficient due to lack of clarity in the law and ineffective legislative strategies which allows the rangers to use weapons only in case of self-defense, otherwise they are not allowed to shoot, Mohabbat Khani further explained.

Once spotting a poachers ranges should shoot bullets in the air to warn them and then they can shoot them in the leg, which is not normally possible as things don’t usually happen in such order and they have to make a decision in a very short time-span that’s why rangers get killed in such armed conflicts.This sounds to be in conflict with the job description of the rangers who are supposed to protect the environment and the precious biodiversity. 

As he explained once spotting a poachers ranges should shoot bullets in the air to warn them and then they can shoot them in the leg, which is not normally possible as things don’t usually happen in such order and they have to make a decision in a very short time-span that’s why rangers get killed in such armed conflicts. 

So, the law must be revised so that the rangers can use their weapons in armed conflicts with poachers or in case of any crimes spotted in protected areas, he also added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, he stated that although the bill offers solutions for part of the ranger’s judicial problems, the most significant problem is inadequate number of forces.

“Some 8,500 rangers are required as per DOE’s organizational chart, while there are only 3,000 forces for monitoring protected areas, which needs a serious consideration,” he highlighted.

He went on to say that the DOE requests the government to take measures to increase the number of rangers by 80-90 percent within two years, reaching up to 5,000 forces.

Pointing to the details of a conflict between the illegal hunters and rangers protecting Golestan National Park, which resulted in the martyrdom of a ranger in the area, he noted that there were 8 poachers in the incident, while only two rangers and two assistants were defending. Thus, the number of illegal hunters was considerably higher, so it made the poachers more agile, and such terrible event occurred.

Iranian ranger, Taj Mohammad Bashghareh, lost his life after getting shot in an armed conflict with poachers on Wednesday in Golestan province, northeastern Iran.

Some 123 rangers have gotten killed while protecting the environment sine 1979 in Iran.

As per the proposed bill the rangers would not face charges in case of involuntarily manslaughter while on duty and would be compensated for the losses they suffer while trying to protect the environment and the biodiversity, the government is required to allocate budget to help those rangers who might be obliged to pay out blood money or other sort of money-penalty compensation for murder or any injuries trespassers may suffer in armed conflicts with them, and the rangers will be provided with regular insurance coverage and are entitled to compensation for the losses they suffer while doing their job.

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