Rights group calls for counseling for prospective gun owners

People’s Federation for National Peace and Development (PEFENAP) says the Malawi Police Service should be providing adequate counseling and training to prospective gun owners.

This is according to PEFENAP Executive Director Edward Chaka who was reacting to the recent incident where Malawi’s former deputy speaker Clement Chiwaya shot himself dead at parliament building in Lilongwe.

According to Malawi Parliament’s statement on the matter, with his firearm, Chiwaya while in Clerk of Parliament’s office shot himself in the head following frustrations over delayed implementation of his benefits at the National Assembly. Police told Malawi24 that Chiwaya used a licenced gun.

In his reaction to the matter, Chaka said it is very unfortunate that a life has been lost just like that on an issue which would have been resolved amicably.

He then said that if the country really wants to fight gun violence, the Malawi Police Service should review some of the laws attached to the possession of firearms.

The Executive Director further added that there is a gap created by poor training and inadequate technical support provided by the police when one would like to possess a firearm which needs to be fixed with urgency.

He added that it is very worrisome that authorization of ownership of firearms is under District Councils instead of putting all under one roof of well-trained officials who knows very well how to handle and manage firearms at household and community levels.

“I regret to hear that the former Speaker has gone through challenges because of protocols that has resulted into his loss of life. We mourn the former Parliamentary leader and regrets his passing due to gun violence.

“The firearm possession should not just be for prestige purpose but through an intensive advisory and training. I regret that District Councils should clear possession of firearm, this has to be checked as well if we are to reduce incidences of gun violence thereby saving people’s lives in Malawi,” said Chaka.

Earlier this year, A ten-year-old boy, Omar Cheucheu shot himself dead at Chindebvu Village, in the area of Traditional Authority Kapeni in Blantyre while playing with his grandfather’s gun a development which Chaka said is clear indication of a knowledge gap on how to care for the weapon.

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