• Francis Obonyo
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Understanding the Firearms (Amendment) Act, 2006

Introduction

This act commencement on 4th August 2006 and it amended the Fire Arms Act, Cap 229 which consolidated the law relating to the regulation, control, manufacture, import, export, sale, repair, storage and possession of firearms and ammunition and for other matters connected therewith.

Major highlights of the Act:

  1. The act restricts the purchase of firearms or ammunition; no person shall purchase, acquire or have in his or her possession any firearm or ammunition unless, in respect of each such firearm, he or she holds a valid firearm certificate. Any person who purchases acquires or has in his or her possession any firearm or ammunition without holding a valid firearm certificate, or otherwise than as authorised by such a certificate, or, in the case of ammunition, in quantities in excess of those so authorised; or fails to comply with any condition, subject to which a firearm certificate is held by him or her, commits an offence

 

  1. Production of firearm certificate; any police officer or customs officer may demand, from any person in possession of a firearm or ammunition, the production of his or her firearm certificate. And if any person upon whom a demand is so made fails to produce the certificate, or to permit the officer to read the certificate, or to show that he or she is entitled by virtue of this Act to have the firearm or ammunition in his or her possession without holding a firearm certificate, the officer may seize and detain the firearm and ammunition.
  1. The act prohibits any dealings in firearms without being registered. No person shall sell or transfer or expose for sale or transfer or have in his or her possession for sale, transfer, repair, test or prove any firearm or ammunition unless he or she is registered under this Act as a firearms dealer; or shall repair, test or prove any firearm or ammunition unless he or she is registered under this Act as a gunsmith.
  1. Storage of firearms and ammunition by dealers and gunsmiths. Every firearms dealer or gunsmith shall provide and maintain at each of his or her places of business a suitable enclosed store for the safe custody of firearms and ammunition in his or her possession and shall at all times keep all such firearms and ammunition securely within the store. The Act further provides that every store is required to be provided and maintained shall be secure to the satisfaction of the licensing officer of the area in which it is situated, and shall have only one means of entry to it which shall be provided with two different locks of which master keys shall be delivered to the licensing officer who shall keep them in a safe after properly labelling them.
  1. Powers of court in case of offences by firearms dealers and gunsmiths. Where a firearms dealer or gunsmith is convicted of an offence against this Act, or against any law for the time being in force relating to customs in respect of the import or export of firearms or ammunition, the court may order; that the name of the firearms dealer or gunsmith be removed from the register; that neither the firearms dealer or gunsmith nor any person who acquires the business of that firearms dealer or gunsmith, nor any person who took part in the management of the business, and who was knowingly a party to the offence, shall be registered as a firearms dealer or gunsmith; that any person who, after the date of the order, knowingly employs in the management or conduct of his or her business any such firearms dealer or gunsmith or any person who was knowingly a party to the offence shall not be registered as a firearms dealer or gunsmith or, if so registered, shall be liable to be removed from the register; and that any stock in hand of the business shall be disposed of as directed by the Inspector General of Police after consultation with the Minister.

 

  1. Penalty for taking firearms or ammunition as security. The Act provides that no person shall take or accept any firearm or ammunition from any other person as a security for any money lent to that person or for any performance of an action done for that person.

 

  1. The act restricts other dealings in firearms and ammunition. It provides that, No person shall sell or transfer to any other person, other than a registered firearms dealer, any firearm or ammunition unless that other person produces a firearm certificate authorising him or her to purchase or acquire the firearms or ammunition or show that he or she is entitled, by /virtue of this Act, to purchase or acquire the firearms or ammunition without holding a firearm certificate.