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Private gun ownership still a challenge

Isa Senkumba

Private gun ownership still a challenge

 Every citizen in this country has a right to own a gun, if he/she meets

Every citizen in this country has an opportunity to own a gun and use it for home security. To apply for private gun ownership and certificate the applicant must meet a number of conditions among which include the following:

The applicant should have a reasonable cause to purchase, the 1970 Firearms Act only regulates ownership of firearms held by individuals, while those held by the police and security agencies are governed under separate laws.

It is not known how many guns are in the country but organizations like, put the estimated total number of guns held by civilians in Uganda at 400,000, however only 2,770 are registered. Unlawfully held guns cannot be counted, but the organization’s estimates put them at 200,000. The defence forces are reported to have 133,000 firearms and the police are reported to have 28,000 firearms.

In a situation where government is unsure on the actual number of guns in the private hands we likely to have more crimes resulting from having guns in the hands of the wrong people. Something urgent should be done.

To address this adage government is drafting a Bill to control possession of firearms held by security agencies and civilians.The Firearms, Ammunitions and Related Materials Bill, seeks to harmonise all existing laws governing possession of guns, including the Firearms Act, 1970.

The main risks of having a gun in the home stem from the fact that someone inappropriate can be shot or intimidated with the gun. There can be (a) accidents, (b) suicides, (c) assaults and homicides, and (d) intimidation. Having guns can also be a tool to harm other people even within the homes. One might inadvertently grab it when a person abruptly goes into your home thinking it absolutely was an intruder. You will even find instances that a person accidentally pulls the trigger believing that his house was being intruded by burglars. Such instances really occur every single day.

When there is domestic violence in the family or the possibility of domestic violence such as during a contentious divorce there is a reason to worry. This is a bad situation that needs to be fixed immediately, generally by putting a lot of distance between the parties. If the violent people are all in the same house and there is a firearm, there is an increased possibility that one will use it on the other.

Criminals are likely to use more advanced techniques on discovering that their -would be victims are armed. Obviously owning a gun is a big responsibility. Part of this responsibility is knowing when not to have one. If you feel that you don’t actually need one consider not acquiring one. If you must own one consider temporarily storing your firearm at in a private place, away from the reach of everyone including children. If the issue is to protect yourself and your family, consider other non-lethal options such as pepper spray or a taser.



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