Maria Amakali The Namibian Police Force (Nampol) says it issued over 50,000 firearm licences in the past nine years with an average of more than 6,000 licences issued per year. But Nampol Chief Inspector Kaunapawa Shikwambi said the police are strict when it comes to issuing gun licences. “The police have always been strict and carefully review all applications and those who meet the requirements are legitimately issued with the licence,” said Shikwambi. Shikwambi explained that 59,883 firearm licences issued over the past nine years have been issued to individuals and different organisations that have gone through a thorough vetting process. “For one to be issued with a firearm licence he/she must be 18 years of age and must be a Namibian citizen. But meeting such requirements does not automatically mean you can be issued with a licence,” clarified Shikwambi, adding that the applicants need to provide valid reasons why they need a firearm. Before the police issue a licence, the applicant’s fingerprints are taken to determine previous convictions or not. Furthermore, a physical inspection is carried out at the applicant’s premises to ensure the applicant has a safe for the firearm’s safekeeping. After all the necessary paperwork is done the application is forwarded to the station and regional commanders, respectively, for review and recommendation before it is forwarded to the national Firearm Division for final review, approval and or rejection. Shikwambi noted that no certified firearms dealer would release a firearm without the purchaser having obtained a gun licence. However, over the years there have been concerns over the number of people who are in possession of firearm licences, which pose a security risk as firearms are used in the commission of crime, according to the police. Thus, stiffer new measures to acquire and or possess a firearm are being considered. Recent cases of gun violence include the death of Helao Ndjamba, who was allegedly shot in the head by Namibia’s Commissioner for Refugees, Likius Valombola, on May 19. Another case that involved the use of a firearm was the death of Maria Megameno Kamati, who was allegedly shot in the head by her live-in boyfriend Erastus Heita in October 2017. Then there was the killing of a student of the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), Naeman Ibe Amakali, who was shot by an unknown person during a road rage incident in March. The police could not provide statistics on confiscated firearms that were used in the commission of crime. “Unfortunately, no statistics are available now but any person who recklessly or negligently handles a firearm is in contravention of the Arms and Ammunition Act and may be declared unfit to possess a firearm. But any firearm that is used in the commission of a crime is confiscated by the police,” said Shikwambi.
New Era Reporter
2018-06-28 09:02:28 9 months ago