In anticipation of the March 14 congressional elections, Colombian authorities announced that weapons of all kinds will be prohibited in Bogota from March 1 until March 15.
The army say that the ban is intended to ensure the security necessary for citizens to feel safe voting. Municipal public safety and national security forces will be exempt from the arms prohibition.
The temporary weapons proscription is only the most visible way in which the government is trying to grapple with the social impact of armed violence.
Since last year, General Secretary Clara Lopez has been visiting schools throughout Bogota, giving workshops to students on peaceful coexistence and the dangers of weapons through a program called Sacred Life. The program has visited over 100 schools so far.
In April, two weeks after the congressional elections, the government is restarting a citizenship program to encourage people to disarm. Those who voluntary hand over their guns to the police will receive a gift certificate, or “bono,” good in a variety of Colombian chain stores. A version of the program run last year collected over 150,000 weapons throughout the country.