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Regulate Arms Law and arm civilians

31 October 2013, 19:02 Mubweka Orodi

It is high time Kenya moved up the ranks in terms of letting civilians carry around fire arms. The country has embarked on a mission to wipe out terror gang, Al Shabaab, and this is obviously no walk in the park. As the Kenya Defence Forces endeavor to accomplish success in Somalia, the rag-tag militia has vowed to destabilize the country and the region as a whole.

With interference in the security of a country emerge opportunists who want to cash in on the havoc by performing criminal acts. This is because they assume that the security agents are fully focused on fighting one crime and forget the others that especially might be regarded as minor in comparison to terrorism. Crime in the country might rapidly soar if the Al-Shabaab keeps to their word of causing continual havoc.

Criminal gangs will soon spring all over because whenever we face a threat all our attention diverts from the whole picture to a small section of the picture. This translates in security lapses inside various parts of the country. People are mugged and raped because investigations are not conclusive due to strained resources which are being fully absorbed in the fight against terror.

The happenings at Westgate mall on 21st September could have been worse if the civilians who had small and light weapons did not intervene and throw a monkey wrench in the works of the Al-Shabaab attackers. Hundreds of innocent people would have ended u being killed if it were to happen that no civilian had a firearm and all help was to be sought from police. Response from police and other security agents was commendable but not as was desired. Owing to many factors, the police tried what they could but the civilians who were armed on site did the primary part of the job; to rescue the victims and subdue the terrorists’ presence.

Take a picture of Westgate under attack the same manner it happened but now this time close to 60% of the adults have guns. There would be death and numerous casualties but not as many as we saw. Civilians would have done their best to escape and once outside regroup and go for the terrorists. This is because whenever one is licensed to handle a firearm they are usually compelled to go for periodic training to handle security situations that require the use of their light weapons. Indeed they are not taught detailed combat and thorough unconventional warfare tactics but they know a thing or two on how to combat an attacker.

Our police service is also a depleted force with a human resource not well suited to serve the ever growing population. Crime is ever on the increase owing to development activities that bring about populations to inhabit an area. Another fuel for crime is the ever increasing population especially of youthful nature and they are hungry for success yet the path is narrow. They will opt to enter into crime in hope of securing their future albeit in the short run.

To curb the possible rise in crime and the effect of police shortage, the government should look into ways of enabling easy and legal access to guns by civilians. Proper legislation should include appropriate gun handling methods, licensing procedures, fee payments and registration as well as penalties for rogue handlers. Only this way can we intensify our security without increasing our government expenditure.

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