Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’I has ruled out the possibility of extending the fire arms vetting process in Nairobi after the expiry of the 90 day moratorium on March 7th.
He stated that the exercise will however continue in other regions for 11 more days until March 18.
Speaking after inspecting operations of the Firearms Licensing Board at the DCI Academy in South C, Nairobi, Matiangi affirmed that action will be taken against those who will not have submitted themselves to the process by then.
“We will not extend the deadline. After the conclusion of the exercise, firearms or ammunition held without certification under the new regime will be deemed to have been acquired illegally,” he said.
Matiang’I stated that the government has so far confiscated 340 firearms and 5,371 assorted ammunition and revoked 36 licenses improperly issued to civilian firearms holders.
The Firearms Licensing Board arrived at this decision after thorough vetting of 3,600-gun owners since the beginning of the exercise on December 15, 2018, where conspicuous improprieties were unearthed in the acquisition and certification of firearms for private use.
According to Matiang’I, some of the confiscated weapons are prohibited under the laws of Kenya, and they include semiautomatic guns and large-capacity magazines designed for the military.
He announced that the Inspector General of Police will lead a countrywide operation thereafter with a view to mopping up such weapons in the best interest of the country.
“Firearms owners must appear in person before the Board and avail their weapons and certificates for review without fail. After the deadline, we will act lawfully, but firmly,” he stated.
The vetting process involves psychiatric assessment by a government psychologist, criminal record checks, and ballistic testing of the weapons and ammunition by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
The Board is issuing vetted gun owners with new smart licenses and concurrently working towards establishing a centralized electronic register of all private citizens holding firearms in the country.