Economy

Firearm licence applicants to undergo mental checks

MATIANGI

Education secretary Fred Matiang’i. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Individuals seeking to own guns will undergo a mandatory mental examination as a pre-condition for acquiring a firearm licence if MPs approve changes to the law.
  • A firearms examiner has petitioned the National Assembly to amend the Firearms Act, Cap 114 to include the mental check requirements in efforts to curb misuse of firearms.

Individuals seeking to own guns will undergo a mandatory mental examination as a pre-condition for acquiring a firearm licence if MPs approve changes to the law.

A firearms examiner has petitioned the National Assembly to amend the Firearms Act, Cap 114 to include the mental check requirements in efforts to curb misuse of firearms.

Machanga Mareko, a psychiatrist and a firearms examiner at Kenyatta National Hospital raised several legal loopholes in the firearms Act that require amendment. “In particular, he argues that a lack of provisions requiring all applicants for firearm licences to undergo a mandatory mental examination as a precondition for the issuance of a firearm certificate might be a precursor to some incidents of misuse of firearms by some licensed holders,” Speaker Justin Muturi told MPs.

The petition comes at a time the country is witnessing an upsurge in the misuse of licensed firearms.

Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i ordered the revocation of gun licences of politicians who misused them during the by-elections in Kabuchai, Matungu and Nakuru.

He directed the Firearms Licensing Board to cancel the gun licences issued to politicians involved in shooting incidents.

Cases of police officers turning the guns to fellow officers or civilians have also been on the rise in the recent past.