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Government recalls 1,493 guns in wrong hands

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i addressing the media before he received the final report on the recently concluded vetting of all civilian gun holders by the Firearms Licensing Board on June 28, 2019 at Harambee House

The government has withdrawn a total of 1,493 firearms after vetting all civilian gun holders in the country.

Speaking on Friday at Harambee House on receiving final vetting report, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that the Firearms Licensing Board has only cleared 6,958 certificates and 9,586 firearms.

“Out of the cleared and certified firearms, we withdrew 1,493 firearms that were in the hands of wrong people and out of this 70 of them were semi-automatic riffles. The board also revoked 304 certificates,” he said.

Matiang’i further stated the board withdrew 21,732 bullets that were in the wrong hands.

In the just concluded vetting exercises, the number of registered firearm holders are 13,805 and only 9,398 were vetted .

He said a total of 4,407 people who didn’t show up for vetting are illegally in possession of firearms and will be treated as criminals.

Matiang’i directed that the 4,407 people holding guns to report to the nearest police station within the next seven days where they will be issued with a licence.

Out of the 33 registered gun dealers in the country, only 23 were inspected and as a result 13 gun dealers had their licences cancelled.

This has left only 20 legal gun dealers who are going to be re-vetted.

As a result, Matiang’i asked the board to halt the issuance of gun dealership licences with immediate effect.

“We have a sufficient number of police officers in the country and other security stakeholders. Why is it that we want to have so many guns in the country?” Matinag’i questioned.

“So until that regime is reviewed by the national security advisory committee and the act reviewed as well, the isuance process will not proceed,” he added.

In addition, Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai said that as from August 1, all private firearm holders will be expected to show their certificate of ownership wherever they go, including the supermarkets, as proof of firearm licence.

“Failure to produce the certificate of ownership, the owner should be reported to the nearest police station and have the firearm withdrawn and immediate communication to the board should be made for verification,” Mutyambai said.

The vetting for civilian gun holders began in February this year, and was conducted by the Firearms Licensing Board at Police Pavilion in South C.

Board chairman Charles Mukindia said holders were to present supporting documents for all licences acquired as well as all firearms and ammunition.

He said upon verification, the holders would proceed for ballistic analysis at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

Following this, a new licence smart card would be issued after 10 days.

The process is mandatory for all the licensed gun holders but those exempted from the vetting included National Police Service, Kenya Prisons Service, serving and retired personnel from the Kenya Defence Forces, Kenya Forest Service and the security sector, Kenya Wildlife Service and National Intelligence Service.

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