By REBECCA KUKU
THE buying of guns and issuing of licences are suspended while the Government works on toughening legislation on the illegal possession of firearms, says Police Minister Jelta Wong.
In a ministerial statement to Parliament yesterday, he re-introduced a gun report from 2009 which had pushed for the total ban of guns in the country.
But he told Parliament it should be amended to only involve illegal guns.
“My perspective on this matter, as is the government, is to totally eradicate illegal weapons,” he said.
“And in order to do this, we must amend our laws to be more stringent with people caught with illegal weapons.”
The report tabled on July 15, 2009, in Parliament had pushed for a complete ban on guns – both licensed and unlicensed ones.
Wong signed a moratorium on Oct 4 last year banning the purchase and issuance of the new gun permits to citizens.
The only exceptions are the guns for the disciplined forces – defence force, police and Correctional Services.
“I took this measure because of the increasing number of gun-related violence and killings in certain parts of the country recently, including the shooting to death of four policemen – two in Enga and two in Southern Highlands,” he said.
Wong said the Police Commissioner – the Registrar of Firearms – has been instructed not to approve any new applications for the purchase and issuance of gun licences.
He said the Government aimed to have tougher laws on the possession of illegal weapons in the country.
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird thanked Wong for “a level-headed” report on the status of gun-related issues.
Mendi-Munihu MP Michael Nali, however, suggested that there should be a complete ban on guns – including licensed ones – in the country.
The issue is expected to be debated again in the next sitting of Parliament.
The House rises after today’s session.
By REBECCA KUKU