File - A crowd carries a man who was injured by a ricocheting bullet fired during the funeral of Samer Huhu, who was killed in a twin bombing attack in Burj al-Barajneh.
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BEIRUT: Whether it's joy, political passion or grief, for many Lebanese, there's only one way to show it: by lifting a gun and firing off rounds into the air. But the deadly practice, a tradition in many Arab countries, has attracted new scrutiny and police attention following a spate of deaths and serious injuries in incidents involving indiscriminate gunfire. Officially, celebratory gunfire is illegal in Lebanon, where firearm ownership remains widespread more than two decades after the end of its 1975-90 civil war.Shop owner Qassem, a resident of the southern port city of Sidon, is undeterred by the legislation.He first fired his gun into the air 14 years ago, to celebrate the birth of his daughter. In a bid to deter people like Qassem, one member of Parliament has submitted a draft law increasing the jail time for such gunfire to up to 20 years, and the maximum fine to the equivalent of $12,500 .An estimated 4 million guns are licensed as personal firearms in Lebanon, which has just 4 million citizens, according to Abi Allam.
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