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Over the years, the Kenyan government has overseen destruction of guns held illegally by their owners/FILE

Kenya

Rifle owners lobby, NGAO, seeks stringent regulations to avert gun violence crisis

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – The National Gun Owners Association, NGAO-Kenya, has called for the formulation of a policy to regulate the number of guns licensed firearm holders can have.

NGAO-Kenya Chairperson Anthony Wahome on Saturday as it is, the Firearm Act does not spell out the number of guns an individual can own saying it is only pegged on a threshold outlined by the Firearm Licensing Board.

“The situation here would demand that there be a policy within the firearm act stating that as a country we shall not, for example, have one or two percent of the population owning a firearm,” he said.

Wahome told Capital FM News a policy framework will ensure at any given time, the number of guns are regulated, to avoid a gun crisis in the country like is currently the case in the United States, where thousands of lives are lost through gun violence annually.

A 2017 survey indicated that 40 per cent of Americans either own a gun or live in a household where there is one. In a year, the United States lost 11,000 lives to murder or manslaughter involving a firearm.

In the subsequent years, the fatalities caused by firearms have remained relatively high.

Over the years, the Kenyan government has overseen destruction of guns held illegally by their owners.

In Mid-March, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said authorities had seized 6,000 firearms, some two months after another haul of 8,000 was destroyed.

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Also needed in Kenya, Wahome said, is a law that will explicitly provide circumstances when a licensed firearm holder is allowed to use a gun. As it is now, it is left to police or the court.

In the past, licensed firearm holders have participated actively during terror attacks but the country has also seen incidents when some rogue gun holders have misused their firearms.

“Police officers have it stated in the law on when and how they can justifiably use a firearm, either to defend life and property and so on,” he said.

“For civilians, that interpretation is left to the gun owner, the Officer Commanding Station, the Director of Public Prosecution,” he noted.

Wahome spoke to Capital FM at NGAO-Kenya’s shooting range in Kirigiti within Kiambu County.

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