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FIREARMS AMNESTY AND  ILLEGAL WEAPONS

The emergence of heavily armed young gangs terrorizing people in the townships is a worrying phenomenal.

These gangs have seemingly been entrenched through access to weapons such as guns. 

In the recent past, the nation has seen a rise in political violence where firearms have been used to injure and end life during political campaigns and elections. 

The brandishing of guns in public by political cadres has also in the recent past become all too common.

That a youth would brazenly carry a fire arm and brandish it in public, should be of concern to everyone.

It is not just the police who should be worrying about guns being in the wrong hands, but every citizen, because everyone at the end of the day, is a potential victim.

Much as citizens are free to legally own fire arms, as provided for by the law for security reasons and for licensed game hunting, it is regrettable that some people are abusing these weapons by taking human life.

We have reported many times on   murders committed through the barrel of the gun. More especially in the high density and rural areas.

Not too long ago, some Burundian nationals were shot dead in separate incidents, a development that left the affected residential areas in shock.

These are the guns which the police would like to remove from communities, to prevent careless loss of lives.

Differences among business rivals, should not be leading to a shootout. This is not something that any Zambian expects to see happening on the streets of Zambia.

However, unless this is controlled, it is something that could very well become a reality.

That is why the Government has been urging citizens owning firearms illegally to surrender them to the Zambia Police Service.

This is basically done to save lives because guns are not toys which should be owned by every Jim and Jack.

The Police have for the fourth time extended the firearm amnesty period by seven days starting from yesterday, February 11, to next week Friday, February 18. 

Yesterday, Inspector General of Police Lemmy Kajoba said this is the final amnesty before officers embark on an operation to rid the communities of illegally owned firearms.

Mr Kajoba in a statement noted with great discontentment the low turnout of people surrendering illegal firearms to the Police throughout the country despite extending the amnesty period a number of times in order to give every well-meaning citizen ample time to do so without coercion. 

“We are again extending the Amnesty period by seven days beginning from Friday February 11, 2022 to Friday, February 18, 2022. Thereafter, we shall embark on an operation to rid the communities of illegally owned firearms. 

We support the police decision to grant an amnesty to encourage gun owners to surrender illegal or unwanted weapons for the good of citizens.

 The amnesty offers a convenient way for licensed firearm owners to dispose safely of weapons they no longer use, thereby ensuring they do not fall into the wrong hands. It offers a critical opportunity for those in possession of illegal firearms to get on the right side of the law. 

We encourage anyone who has found themselves in possession of a firearm to take advantage of this opportunity, and to encourage others to do the same.

We would also urge police to provide a longer extension instead of the seven days amnesty given. Another extension of three months would haul in more illegal firearms than what would be achieved in seven days.

It is important to make the communities safe by getting rid of illegal firearms.

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