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Govt to regulate issuance of firearms to civilians

16 October 2014, 07:59

Nairobi - The government will review the legal framework governing the issuance of firearms to civilians in the light of escalating crime in towns and villages.

Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo said on Wednesday that civilians who apply for a gun permit will undergo rigorous vetting in line with best international practices.

"The issuance of firearms to private citizens will be stringent, as the government intensifies mopping of small and light weapons in the wrong hands," Kimaiyo told reporters in Nairobi.

Kenya has 6,000 licensed gun owners concentrated in big cities. Kimaiyo noted that demand for gun permits among Kenya's affluent class has spiked in recent times.

Also read: Ward reps want guns

"The law is clear that civilians should have impeccable credentials before they are granted the right to possess a firearm. We have witnessed misuse of these weapons by unscrupulous individuals," said Kimaiyo.

Kenya has experienced a rise in criminal activities due to unregulated flow of small and light weapons. The government's Firearms Act spell out stiff penalties on misuse of lethal weapons.

Kimaiyo said that instability in neighboring countries was to blame for influx of firearms in urban centers.

"We have mapped several dens in Nairobi where guns are sold or hired to criminals. Availability of these weapons has worsened crime in the city and peri-urban districts," Kimaiyo said.

 - Xinhua

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