By Cyrus Ombati
The Chief Firearms Licensing Officer in the police force, Francis Mwangi Wanjohi has revealed there is no thorough vetting done before guns are issued to civilians.
Wanjohi blamed the situation on the coming in of the new Constitution and admitted a number of applicants had been given licences to own guns before being vetted as required by law. He said unlike in the past when applicants used to be vetted through a rigorous process, the situation changed with the phasing out of the provincial administration.
“Before the licencing was stopped, some applicants had been receiving the permits without going through the vetting process and system,” he said adding that he could not say how many of these benefited.
This raised questions as to whether some of the gun holders are illegally having the weapons and abusing them. Wanjohi said there has been an increase in cases of misuse of firearms by those issued with permits adding that the punishment is lenient.
The most recent is one in which a businessman used his gun to shoot open a door in Westlands following a dispute.
He recommended that the firearm holders be forced to go through training before being licensed. “The Government should also make it a requirement that all firearm holders must be retrained and issued with a certificate of competency before the licences are renewed,” he said.
A member of the vetting panel and CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro said the Government stopped issuing licences to civilians to enable streamlining of the process.