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Mystery of 4,000 gun owners and dealers who can’t be traced

NAIROBI
By Michael Chepkwony | June 30th 2019

There are an estimated 4,000 unvetted gun holders in the country and they have a week to submit their arsenal for verification by the government or face the music.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination announced a raft of new measures it was taking to regulate misuse of firearms.

Among them is regulating the number of firearm dealers, hunting down gun holders who did not turn up for vetting and requiring that firearm holders display their certificates before entering premises.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai revealed their course of action yesterday when they received the final report on the recent re-vetting process of all civilian gun holders by the Firearms Licensing Board.

Matiang’i asked the gun holders who had not been vetted to report to the nearest police station with their weapons within seven days to seek licenses or face action.

Vetting

The CS said after the deadline lapses, the 4,407 gun holders will be treated as “armed and dangerous” criminals who will be pursued by the police.

“Out of the 13,805 registered firearm holders, 9,398 were vetted while 4,407 did not turn up. I have asked the Inspector General of police to look for them,” said Matiang’i.

The CS warned the gun holders that the matter will not be taken lightly, adding that having been considered armed and dangerous, they should prepare for the consequences that comes with it.

“The law is blind to financial or economic status. We shall take action,” he said, as he dismissed concerns that there were powerful individuals in possession of illegal arms who were untouchable.

He said security agencies will look into the records and start hunting the gun holders if they do not report to police in the set time.

The CS said that as part of reducing unnecessary circulation of firearms in the country, he had directed the Kenya Firearms Licensing Board to suspend issuing of licenses to firearm dealers.

The directive comes at a time that the report by the board indicated that licenses of 13 firearm dealers had been revoked, with 20 remaining in business.

“Considering the challenges we have in security, it is not beneficial to allow many dealers of arms to operate,” said Matiang’i, adding, “we have sufficient police, why have many guns?”

Mutyambai said by August 1, all firearm holders are required to display their certificates before entering premises.

“Private security at the premises should be able to confirm that you are licensed,” he said.

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