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Move on guns laudable



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Efforts to streamline the licensing of private gun owners are beginning to bear fruit and this is good news to a public alarmed at the misuse of such weapons.

Indeed, this was long overdue as firearms licensing has been prone to abuse.

There is no reason why people who need firearms for their protection should be denied that right.

However, when such weapons become a security risk to other Kenyans, that privilege must be reviewed and errant individuals stripped of the firearms.

In the past, one only needed to have money to get a gun licence. With Sh300,000, one would be handed a gun permit.

Officials would not seek to establish whether an applicant deserved to hold a weapon. Without due diligence, firearms ended up in the hands of people not competent to handle them.

The biggest worry has been the licensing of civilians to hold military-type weapons, which, if they ended up in the wrong hands, would cause horrendous casualties and damage.

The need to strictly control guns in civilian hands became even more urgent after pictures emerged on social and mainstream media of apparently clueless individuals lugging big guns at the scene of a terrorist attack in Nairobi.

We commend Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i for quickly moving to right a wrong that had been allowed to thrive for so long.

More than 300 unlicensed firearms and 5,000 rounds of ammunition in civilian hands have been repossessed in just the past few weeks.

And Dr Matiang’i says this has only been possible by having fresh registration of the holders of firearms.

The operation should continue as it has emerged that many guns had been acquired fraudulently. All illegally held firearms must be mopped up to enhance security and safety.