National Gun Owners Association sues Matiang’i over vetting directive

CZ Scorpion Evo 3, one of the guns the government wants civilians barred from owning. [Courtesy, Wikipedia]
With three days to start of the 90-day rigorous verification of all firearm certificates, a civilian gun owners’ association is in court to contest it.

The National Gun Owners Association (NGAO) has sued The Cabinet Secretary for Interior after the holder of the office Dr Fred Matiangi issued sweeping orders he said would streamline gun ownership in the country.

Anthony Wahome, Alex Migwi, Capt. Mario Magonga, Eric Wachira, Manu Fresco, Martin Mbutura, Rohit Mediratta and Dafton Mwitiki are suing on their own behalf and as officials of NGAO.

The Attorney-General is listed as the second respondent.

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In a plaint drawn by Ochieng’, Onyango, Kibet & Ohaga Advocates, NGAO also wants the Cabinet Secretary to be adjudged as having usurped the power and functions of the Firearms Licensing Board (FLB).

On December 5, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i directed the gun owners to appear in person before the board with their weapons for vetting and re-registration and be issuance with an electronic identification document.

Offices from the Kenya Wildlife Service, National Police Service, members of other security agencies and military personnel were exempt from the requirement.

In their petition filed at the Milimani Law Courts, NGAO also took issue with the composition of the board chaired by Charles Mukindia and expected to vet them averring it has no representative from a private members group of lawfully registered gun owners.

“Section 3 (2) (c) of the Firearms Act mandates that the Board must include one representative from a private members group of lawfully-registered gun owners and as there is no such representative appointed, the Board as currently constituted is contra statute,” NGAO argued.

They also want the court to revoke the suspension of the licence for their outdoor shooting range in Gitata Farm at Kirigiti, Kiambu County as they were not a firearms dealer.

“Article 36 of the Constitution of Kenya grants the right to freedom of association and the Applicant’s members’ right to assemble and participate in the associate’s activities have now been curtailed by the suspension of its licence for an outdoor shooting range,” the petition reads.

The association was in the final bidding stages to host the International Defensive Pistol Association competitions in Kenya.

“Shooting is a perishable skill that needs constant practice. We represented Kenya at the 2017 IDPA competitions in South Africa and did well. A team from IDPA was to visit the country and check all the requirements at our shooting range only to find it closed,” Association chair Antony Wahome told Standard Digital.

Moreover, the association argues that it was not given a prior notice to contest the suspension of the licence as required by section 4 (3) of the Fair Administrative Action Act, 2015.

NGAO further avers the decision by the Cabinet Secretary to declare Sterling-Patchett MK5, CZ Scorpion Evo 3 and MP5 as prohibited weapons was unlawful.

While admitting the Cabinet Secretary was allowed to do so under the Firearms Act, they noted the directive was not gazetted but made through a statement on December 5.

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Anthony WahomeNational Gun Owners AssociationFirearms Licensing BoardMatiang’i Gun Owners DirectiveCourt