Police have suspended the issuance of gun licenses to civilians pending an audit that will establish the number of fire arms currently in the hands of civilians.
This was announced Monday in a statement released by the Police spokesperson, SSP Emilian Kayima.
Ordinary Ugandans (civilians) are allowed by law to own guns privately, provided they are mature and understand how to use the guns as per the stipulated guidelines including committing to ensure safe custody of these guns.
“We are suspending receiving any more applications for firearms in the meantime until a proper audit is carried out and a report produced to that effect,” Kayima said in the statement.
Police say they have received very many applications from members of the public who want to acquire fire arms.
“We have instituted an audit to find out the number of firearms, ammunitions in the hands of the civilians,” the statement by Police read.
It is not clear what could have prompted the Police to sanction an audit at this particular time. A possibility that this could be related to the recent spike in organized crime most of which is perpetrated using guns can not be underlooked.
The new development could be an attempt to tighten the procedure that civilians will be subjected to in order to acquire guns, going forward.
The Fire Arms Act of 1970 states that the Minister (of Internal Affairs) shall appoint a senior police officer to be the chief licensing officer who among other duties is charged with issuance of firearms certificates.
A firearm certificate according to the Act entitles the holder to purchase, acquire, have in his or her possession or use the firearm and ammunition described in the certificate.
Section 4 of the same Act states that “an application for the issue of a firearm certificate shall be made in the prescribed form to the chief licensing officer and shall contain the prescribed particulars”.
It further provides that the chief licensing officer may, in his or her discretion, refuse to issue a firearm certificate unless he or she is satisfied that the person applying for the firearm certificate; is not prohibited by any provision of the Act from purchasing, acquiring or having in his or her possession a firearm or ammunition;
The licensing officer may also refuse to issue a certificate if he/she considers the applicant; incompetent to use a firearm, below the age of 25, not of sound mind or not able to ensure the safe custody of fire arm.