Commissioner of Police David Manning said the enforcement of the amendments to the Firearms Act has begun yesterday.
Mr Manning, who is also the Registrar of Firearms, said policemen and women throughout the country are now directed to arrest and charge anyone in possession of illegal firearms, which under the amended laws carries a life imprisonment from May 19 onwards. Previously, offenders, if found guilty were given a maximum term of 10 to 20 years imprisonment.
Mr Manning is urging all police officers around the country to enforce the law and implement the Firearms Amendment Act 2022 that was tabled and supported by all members of the 10th National Parliament recently.
“I gave a two weeks amnesty period for people to come forward and surrender their firearms to the nearest Police station. I am now appealing to anyone who has any information about the existence of any such illegal firearm to please come forward and assist your Police Force to remove these individuals and firearms from our communities,” Mr Manning said.
He added that communities are being held at ransom by violent individuals who indiscriminately commit horrendous acts of violence with the use of illegal firearms.
“It is timely that this enabling piece of legislation was amended to ensure we adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ stance and keep our communities safe and secure,” the Police Commissioner said.
Under the recent amendment, life imprisonment is now the maximum penalty for:
· Manufacturing of homemade guns;
· Illegal ownership and possession of firearms;
· Illegal possession and use of firearms;
· Illegal possession of prohibited firearm; and
· Ownership and possession of machine guns.
“I encourage those in possession of illegal firearms to surrender them now before we catch you,” Mr Manning said.
The amnesty period ends on Thursday May 19, 2022.