Surrender illegal firearms in two months, govt orders

THE government has issued a two-month ultimatum to individuals or groups in possession of illegal firearms to surrender them to the appropriate authority.

Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Jumanne Sagini issued the ultimatum on Monday in Dodoma Region while launching the exercise to receive illegal firearms.

According to Mr Sagini, people who turn in their firearms at police stations and local government offices within the time frame would be granted amnesty.

“This exercise goes from September 1st this year to October 31st this year. After that amnesty period will elapse and people with illegal firearms will be handled like any other criminals,” he emphasised.

Various stakeholders, including the media, religious institutions, regional security committees and districts and the police, he said, will work together to undertake a special campaign for the successful execution of the exercise.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Camillus Wambura urged legal gun owners to comply with the law and existing regulations so that their weapons do not fall into the hands of criminals.

“The Tanzania Firearms and Ammunition Act of 2015 explicitly defines the issue of possession of weapons, where one must first apply to own a weapon and determine beforehand if they are qualified, as well as being of sound mind and older than 25,” he noted.

Section 10(1) states that a person shall not possess a firearm unless he/she has obtained a licence or permit under this Act.

And, for companies to own firearms, Article 10(5) states that the application shall be made by its chief executive officer.

For one to deal in arms as either a dealer or broker, the law requires him/her to adhere to section 32 (1)(2) and (3) which set the standards and also includes the permit from the authority.

In 2015, the government directed all owners of legal firearms in the city to verify them, an exercise led by late President John Magufuli.

The following year, the police announced that they embarked on a mission to track down people who lend their legally owned firearms to criminals in the city, saying the move had been prompted by a discovery that most firearms recovered in the wake of crimes were legally owned.

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