News24

Sierra Leone lifts ban on small arms

2012-08-02 10:24

Freetown - Sierra Leone lawmakers have lifted a ban on small arms in new legislation which seeks to regulate ownership of weapons in a country ravaged by a decade-long civil war, an official said on Wednesday.

"The act will regulate the private ownership of guns and other weapons in the country to control the proliferation nationwide," said deputy Internal Affairs Minister Raymond Kabia, who piloted the bill.

"The act will also ensure that stockpiles of small arms and weapons by manufacturers, dealers as well as individuals are securely stored in accordance with prescribed standards and procedures," he said on public radio.

Kabia said a national commission would be responsible for the "regulation and licensing of the transfer, manufacture, sales and use of small arms and light weapons throughout the country".

He added that government would soon destroy a cache of over 6 000 weapons and ammunition collected by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2004.

Kabia also said no new licences would be issued until after the 17 November presidential election.

At the end of a civil war in 2002 which claimed about 120 000 lives, government banned all private ownership of small arms and ordered that all such weapons be handed over to police stations for safekeeping.

Under a massive UN disarmament programme in 2004, 75 000 combatants including 6 845 child soldiers were demobilised.

Local hunters and farmers have welcomed the lifting of the ban as many possess home-made guns to hunt or protect their farm crops.

Comments
  • crimefree.za - 2012-08-02 21:44

    So the government goes from a ban and many thousands of firearms that they have no idea who has what to a nice list of firearm owners they can confiscate any time they want. What other reason could government want this law for? One you can prove is valid. It certainly is not a concern for crime or life. 10 years of civil war says the government could not care less about that and it certainly has not grown a conscious now.

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