France, Nov. 25 -- In a first for France,from Friday any residents who hold "undeclared" weapons are being urgedto drop them off at dedicated points throughout the country without risking penalties.

The Interior Ministry, which is organising the initiative,estimates that up to six million weapons are circulating illegally in France.

To reducethat number,300 drop-off points havebeing set up until Friday 2 December.

The aim is not to track down weapons held by criminals, but to target "the average person" who may have a gun or knifelying around, perhaps because it was passed down to them or left around their home, the ministry explains.

"First of all, we want to fightdomestic accidents that can happen with these weapons, which are often...