All civilian firearm holders in the country will be registered afresh by March 18 this year, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has announced.
Accompanied by his Information, Communications and Technology counterpart Joe Mucheru, DrMatiang’i said the Firearm Licensing and Control Board has developed a new micro-chip card that will have all the details of a firearm holder.
He said every civilian who legally owns a gun must produce the card if required by the security agencies from March 19.
“Anybody who holds a firearm in the country must be registered afresh by March 18. They will be issued with a card that has a micro-chip that has all the details of the gun owner. When for example, the police commander in the region requires you to produce this card to prove you own the firearm, you must do so,” said Matiang’i.
He was speaking during the 2019 first quarter conference of the Regional Commissioners, Regional Police Commanders, County Commissioners and County Police Commanders at Flamingo Beach Hotel Mombasa.
Last year, Matiang’i issued a directive that all civilian gun owners must appear before the Firearm and Licensing Board for fresh vetting before they are issued with the new cards.
However, a section of gun holders, under the National Gun Owners Association (NGOA), moved to court to stop the mandatory vetting of the civilian firearm holders. The High Court has temporarily suspended the exercise.
However, CS Matiang’i said despite the court order the government would press on with the exercise to restore order in the security sector.
“I am aware that a certain group of people called the National Gun Owners Association had gone to court. However, those who are not members of the said association have no problem registering afresh. When it comes to March 19, the Inspector General and I will decide what to do, but you must have this new card,” he said.
The CS said the government had also started the national human resource information registration of the police officers in the country.
He said also the Kenya Police Reservists and National Police Reservists must be registered together with police officers in their regions.
“I insist, because we want updated records for everyone, KPR and NPR must be registered too. Everyone who is holding a gun that was given by the government must be registered,” he said.
Dr Matiang’i directed the police commanders in the regions and in the counties to make sure the KPR and NPR officers are also registered with other regular officers.
“We want to have a census because I want to know who holds a gun officially. We must have that record because we have to be accountable for our work,” said the CS.
He said the war on terror is a global phenomenon, but as a government they will remain steadfast in ensuring safety of the people.
“We are alert, and we remain alert. We remain resolute and committed in ensuring that our people are protected and any person who was directly or indirectly involved in the attack of Nairobi’s 14 Riverside Drive in which 21 people lost lives will soon be arrested,” said Matiang’i.
The ICT CS observed that the government was leveraging and utilising on new technologies to fight crime, violence and conflicts. He said his ministry had spread across the counties the national optic fibre backbone infrastructure which seeks to enhance universal access to affordable ICT solutions countrywide.