The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) wants the Namibian(NamPol) to establish an audit for existing gun licences for owned, stolen, illegal or lost fire arms that are however not held by authorities but are circulating around the country.
According to statistics provided by IPPR, 200 010 civilians legally own guns in Namibia. This translate to nine legally owned guns per 100 people. About 59 883 gun licenses were issued from 2008 to date. During a briefing in the capital on Thursday, IPPR Research Associate, Dietrich Remmert noted that the number of licenced firearms in civilians’ hands has doubled over the past years, therefore the need for the increase to be put into perspective rather than kept in isolation from other crimes.
Remmert suggested that legal restriction on the amount of ammunition held by civilian gun owners should be introduced as well as time-bound arms licenses.
“The time-bound arm licenses can be introduced in a time frame of five years which will require a renewal application” he said.
Remmert highlighted that a new law on arms control should pass mandatory checks such as history of mental illness, history of violence and any prior convictions of a civilian relating to drug and alcohol abuse, as these laws should be explicit in the eyes of the law and just not be administrative procedures.
He further explained that security companies that are proven to have poor control of their weapons stocks should have their weapons licences taken away or suspended until they can prove that they have a proper control system in place.
Remmert urged the Ministry of Safety and Security together with the police and the possible assistance of the Namibian Statistics Agency to ensure that a wide range of reliable crime statists are gathered and made available to the public.
“Statistics should be presented in such a way that they can be disaggregated according to type, gender, age and geographical distribution as other aspects” said Remmert.
“Incidents of crime in Namibia are a highly sensitive topic and have become a major public concern.
In recent years, the government has repeatedly voiced concern regarding the perceived high level of gun violence in the country and has implied that the arguably high level of legal firearm ownership is linked to an increase in firearm related crimes.