Strict measures needed on gun control
Published On October 22, 2021 » 2251 Views» By Times Reporter » Opinion
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THE issue of firearms being in unsafe hands is a matter that Zambia seems to be grappling with.
In as much as guns acquired through illegal means, like homemade muzzle loaders and guns used in the commission of crime, fall under this lot, the Government, through the Zambia Police Service, has been using gun amnesties to secure them and the people.
But the threat also seems to come from those guns that are legally acquired.
Currently, the police in Lusaka is dealing with a case where an 18-year-old has been formally arrested and charged with murder for allegedly shooting to death his 39-year-old sister using their father’s rifle in Woodlands Chalala area in Lusaka recently.
The police further recorded a warn-and-caution statement from the juvenile’s father for his alleged failure to secure the firearm.
Without discussing the case per se, this episode, which is regrettable, should concern every well-meaning Zambian who owns a firearm.
This is because such incidences can be avoided.
Whereas it is the right of any individual to acquire a firearm, there is a procedure, which is clearly outlined in the Firearms Act Chapter 110 of the laws of Zambia.
Additionally, the process to acquire a firearm involves training, because a gun is a dangerous thing that should not be allowed to fall in the hands of inexperienced or unknowledgeable persons who might not appreciate how dangerous it is.
This is why legal ownership of a gun requires a person to go through the procedure, acquire a licence and also have a certificate for the firearm.
Even the gun itself must be acquired from a place or a person who is licensed to deal in firearms.
This procedure must be followed to the later in order to police not only the ownership but also the use of firearms.
Failure to have stringent measures in the control and use of guns, especially those in private hands, could lead to situations like what happened in the run up to August 12 general elections where some people caught in political clashes resorted to discharging firearms in public.
Not only that, there was an incident in Mumbwa in 2011 where a 23-year-old man was accidentally shot by his uncle who did not realise that a firearm he was carrying was loaded.
In such instances, it is regrettable that some owners of firearms were failing to adequately secure the guns and this put people’s lives at risk.
We, therefore, call upon members of the public who might have interest in owning guns to weigh the pros and cons for doing so, and also ensure that once acquired, such guns should be secured to avoid the disastrous consequences that could result in the loss of an innocent life should the firearm fall in unsafe hands.
Those who already have guns must be fully accountable for their safekeeping and ensure that access to both the firearms and the ammunition is restricted.

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