The Inspector General of Police (IG), Hillary Mutyambai has directed all regional police commanders to begin recovering 4293 licensed firearms and arrest owners for failing to submit themselves to the mandatory vetting exercise as directed by the government five months ago.
Mutyambai at the same time, ordered firearm dealers to immediately handover any firearms and ammunitions surrendered by owners to the nearest police stations.
In a press release on Friday, the IG further warned licensed firearm holders that they risk having licenses withdrawn and firearms repossessed should they handle the same recklessly or display them unnecessarily to the public.
The IG explained that since the national government ordered the civilian firearms licensing board to vet all firearms dealers, holders and shooting range owners to ascertain the authenticity and proficiency of their licenses on February 4 this year, the board has vetted 9,398 registered gun owners and cleared 6,958.
“We have uncovered peculiar lapses and procedural improprieties in the acquisition, use possession and transfer of firearms,” he said.
At its reasonable discretion, the IG said that the board also confiscated 1,493 firearms and 21,732 assorted ammunition leaving some 4,407 registered gun owners who never submitted themselves to the mandatory vetting exercise and whose licenses will now be revoked.
“The Seven day respite they were granted to surrender their guns to the government lapsed yesterday and therefore there are 4,293 gun owners who are deemed to be in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and whose licenses will now be revoked,” he said, adding that the said will also be treated as armed and dangerous criminals.
Following a surge in gun related crimes in the country, the government through the Cabinet Secretary Interior and Coordination ordered civilian firearms licensing board to vet gun owners five months ago.
During the exercise, some 4,407 registered gun owners never submitted themselves to the mandatory vetting exercise and were given a grace period of seven days to surrender. During that period a further 50 firearms were surrendered to police stations countrywide and 64 to the firearms licensing bureau.
According to the IG, the government is committed to carrying out and also safeguarding personal security for every law abiding citizen.
By Wangari Ndirangu