Amend law on small arms – MP

Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, Alexander Afenyo Markin is urging the state to tighten existing legislation on the importation, acquisition and use of small arms in Ghana.

The MP’s call comes in the wake of growing concerns over the proliferation of small arms in the country, which many have blamed for the increasing spate of violent crimes in the country.

The Member of Parliament for the Afutu constituency in the Central Region was speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Wednesday.

He bemoaned the ease with which individuals can get small arms through the country’s borders.

This, he said, has led to Ghana being used as a transit point for the smuggling of small arms in the West African sub-region.

“If you go to Nigeria, there’s a very strict monitoring of the dealership in arms… but it appears because our system is very relaxed, where the minister issues a permit and the dealer brings it in, …it becomes easier for the dealer to bring in as many arms as he wants, and sell, without a legislation tracking what the arms are used for,” Mr. Afenyo Markin emphasized.

He said there is urgent need for existing legislation on gun control in the country to be amended to require tracking of what small arms imported into the country are used for, before the dealer is given a subsequent license to import.

Security Analyst, Irbard Ibrahim has painted a bleak picture of the small arms problem in Ghana.

According him, illegal mining, also known as ‘Galamsey’ and the menace of land-guarding fuel the small arms trade in the country.

Irbard also urged the security agencies to keep an eye on the activities of some of their personnel who lend their service rifles to armed robbers, in order to share in the booty of the robbery.

The executive secretary of the Small Arms and Light Weapons Commission, who are the regulators of small arms in Ghana, has identified the failure to strictly enforce existing laws on small arms as the source of the problem.

Mr. Jones Applerh challenged the MP for Afutu’s assertion that the laws on small arms are lagging in terms of the monitoring of the use of fire arms imported into the country.

He rather believes enforcement has been the difficulty, adding, there has been a ban on the importation of small arms into the country since 2009.

Some of the arms used for armed robberies and other violent crimes in the country are manufactured by local blacksmith, hence calls on the Small Arms and Light Weapons Commission to regulate the work of these blacksmiths as a solution.

The executive secretary of the Commission, Jones Applerh, however, believes the creation of more employment opportunities for these blacksmiths will be a viable solution.

According to him, these artisans could be granted the opportunity to build screens for hospitals, drip apparatus, amongst others.

Concerning the use of service rifles of security service personnel by armed robbers, Mr.Jones Applerh is recommending that security agencies clearly mark the rifles of security personnel, as is required by law, in order to aid in easy tracking of the rifles, and their use.

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