Saudi Arabia has been allowed to have a magazine loader in its airports, despite a government warning that it could lead to a “significant increase in fatalities”.
The move has raised questions about the kingdom’s ability to control crowds, and raises concerns over how long the country can safely allow a rapid spread of firearms.
On Sunday, the Saudi Interior Ministry issued a warning to the public, urging people not to open their arms to the “dangerous” device.
“It is the responsibility of the government to prevent people from opening their arms and weapons to these devices and to ensure that they are properly secured,” the ministry said in a statement.
“It is also a matter of public safety, and it is the duty of the state to provide proper security.”
The ministry said it was concerned that people were opening their weapons and trying to load magazines into them, and that it had taken the measure to prevent that from happening.
“This is not the first time Saudi Arabia’s security agencies have warned against allowing magazine-loading devices to be used in the country, and they have not yet been given any additional warnings,” the Interior Ministry said.
In response, a spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in London said that the government was “concerned about the risks of opening arms to these potentially dangerous devices”, and that “there are restrictions on opening the arms of all Saudi citizens”.”
If you are not careful, it will lead to an increase in the number of people in the public places that are loaded.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Saudi embassy in London said that the government was “concerned about the risks of opening arms to these potentially dangerous devices”, and that “there are restrictions on opening the arms of all Saudi citizens”.
In addition to the restrictions on the sale of arms, Saudi Arabia also bans the use of video cameras and cellphones in public spaces, in a move that is considered to be a measure of cultural conservatism in the kingdom.
Al Jazeera’s Ali Sattar said that despite this, the kingdom has not taken a formal position on the magazine loader and has been able to allow it to be carried in the capital Riyadh.
“There’s been a long debate around this and we think the Saudis have to look at this,” Sattam said.
“The kingdom has been very careful about the magazine loading and the weapons and what they are used for, so it’s very easy for them to have this device on the ground.”
The kingdom is a signatory to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), and in recent years has taken a number of measures to prevent the use, sale and stockpiling of the weapons.
Saudi Arabia has also signed the Convention for the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Use of Chemical Weapons (COPEN), and a number other similar agreements, as well as several international treaties, such as the Arms Trade Treaty.
The Saudi embassy did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.