Getting a gun licence is not that easy. Chairman of the Firearms Appeal Board Israel Khan, SC, says there are over 500 appeals before the board.However, Khan said he was unaware how many were legitimate claims, as the board was yet to meet.The board was only appointed on October 18 last year, under the Firearms (Amendment) Act of 2011, to arbitrate on decisions by the Commissioner of Police not to issue licences to applicants.
The Commissioner of Police can also revoke a permit if he is satisfied that the holder is of intemperate habits or unsound mind, or otherwise unfit to be entrusted with a gun. Anyone aggrieved by such a decision can appeal to the board which has not met since 2008.Khan said it would meet in the next two weeks to begin reviewing the claims.
Griffith agreed it was hard to get a legal firearm because of red tape and said many people complained to him about it."Most of them have not gotten a response from the Commissioner of Police why they have not gotten a licence. Some people have heard that the service lost their application while others take two to three years before they can obtain a licence.
"The bureaucratic red tape is too much. You can't have people on file for four to five years–and even though they finally got it, what if something had happened to them during those years? Then the bureaucratic tape would have been responsible for that. We need to get the system done properly."
According to the police Web site, any company, business group or individual 25 or over can apply for a firearm-user's licence. First, you must get a provisional licence that authorises you to fire a gun at a specific shooting range for training purposes.Applicants must get a certificate of character from the Commissioner of Police not less than three months before the application date.
The provisional licence expires after two months but applicants can apply for another.Ali said provisional licence-holders must train and take an exam for a certificate of competence. They then go back to the CoP who determines whether to grant a full licence.The permit states what types of gun the holder is permitted to acquire and how much ammunition he can purchase.
What the law says
The Firearms Act says someone may purchase, acquire or have in his possession a firearm or ammunition only if he has a licence for them.Offences and penalties under the law include:
�2Selling or giving a gun or ammunition to someone who does not have a licence: $50,000 fine or imprisonment for five years.
�2Shooting in or near a public place except in self-defence: $10,000 fine .
�2Using a gun while committing a crime: ten years' imprisonment.
�2Having a gun while drunk or under the influence of drugs: $20,000 fine and two years' imprisonment.
�2Anyone convicted under the Domestic Violence Act, may be refused a firearm licence for five years from the date of conviction.