To raise awareness on the dangers of celebratory gunfire in Lebanon and trigger a change in people's behavior, Permanent Peace Movement, a Lebanese NGO, chose to spread its anti-gun message in a stunt, at Lebanon's biggest wedding exhibition: Wedding Folies 2017.
The deadly practice of celebrating with gunfire is in fact illegal in Lebanon - something most people are unaware of.
In a sea of wedding dresses and flower displays at the wedding exhibition, the presence of one new and totally unexpected brand really stood out: "Eleguns"; a gun service company promising to take wedding celebrations to the next level, offering "perfectly planned" and "beautifully executed" gun shows for brides and grooms-to-be.
Some couples approaching the stand expressed their disbelief, whilst others were surprisingly interested in a gun show.
Having been briefed on the assortment of professional shooters, available weapons and prices, the couple is then asked to register their information at the assistant's desk, where the stunt and company's fake identity are revealed. Providing key facts and figures, as well as a rundown of weddings-gone-wrong that led to many deaths in 2017. The couple is asked if they would like to sign a document and make a vow to keep their wedding safe and gun-free, and to help report unlawful shooting incidents they witness in the future.
In Lebanon, celebrating with gunfire carries a sentence of 6 months to 3 years, with a fine that costs 8 to 10 times the minimum wage; or in cases where death occurs, a sentence of 10 years minimum, with a fine 20 to 25 times the minimum wage.
Nevertheless, many shooters still get away with their actions due to poor law enforcement or "wasta" (personal connections).
Quote by Fadi Abi Allam, President and Executive Director of Permanent Peace Movement:
"Our campaign was controversial in nature in an attempt to get people talking about the dangers of celebratory gunfire and ultimately, to change behavior. It's time that we let go of age-old traditions that hinder us from moving forward as a society."
Mr. Abi Allam also stressed on the importance of raising awareness on the environmental, physical, and financial repercussions of celebratory gunfire.