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Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner David Manning wants to implement a “gun buy-back scheme” to ease the proliferation of illegal firearms within Papua New Guinea.
Commissioner Manning made this comment following the ongoing use of firearms in tribal fights in various parts of PNG and in many of the serious crimes committed to date.
“About 80 per cent of the serious crimes in PNG, including murder and armed robbery, are committed with some form of firearm, whether home or factory-made. Firearms were used in the recent killing of policemen in Enga, Hela, Milne Bay and quite recently in Porgera,”Manning said.
He said while people may argue against a gun buy-back scheme, he believed that this is the best option available to Papua New Guinea now to remove a large number of illegal firearms from local communities.
“Firearms were illegally obtained by various communities to defend themselves against their tribal enemies. Up in the Highlands, firearms remain the prized possession of many tribes. However, in recent times, many of these firearms have been used in criminal activities and hired out to others as well,” Manning said.
“If we are serious about getting rid of firearms from our communities, the gun buy-back scheme is the best way forward. Under this proposal, which I will be putting to the government through the police minister, we will offer a three-month nationwide guns amnesty during which a massive national awareness campaign will be initiated.
“All guns surrendered during the amnesty period will be bought by the government. No criminal action will be taken against anyone who surrenders their illegal firearms during the amnesty.”
He said after the amnesty period, the Police Department will be recommending life imprisonment for anyone caught with a firearm.
Manning urged the public to take on a zero-tolerance attitude to illegal firearms.
He said while many may think firearms may be protection, these are the weapons which may end their lives or the lives of someone they love.
“The gun culture is destroying our country. All concerned Papua New Guineans must take a stand against the proliferation of illegal firearms within our communities,” Manning said..
Meanwhile, a bill is expected to be tabled in Papua New Guinea Parliament during its two-week sitting starting today to ban the sale of guns in the country, says Leader of Government Business Rainbo Paita.
Paita, the Finance and Rural Development Minister, said it would mean amending the Firearms Act for a total ban on the sale of firearms and for related purposes.
The House sits from 2pm today in its first session in 2020.
Paita told The National that the Minister for Commerce and Industry William Duma would also table a Bill for an Act to provide the regulatory framework for foreign investments in the interest of national, social, and economic development.
The Department of Defence will also be presenting its annual report, and a second situation report on the Highlands earthquake response.
“A report on the conduct of the 2017 national election is also expected to be presented,” he said.
Paita said apart from those, it would be Business as usual.
He said Parliament sat for a total of 83 days since August 2017, with 28 Bills passed last year.
“Out of the 28, 14 were certified, and 14 are yet to be certified.”
It is also expected that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Bill will also surface as Prime Minister James Marape wants it approved and implemented.
SOURCE:POST COURIER/THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS
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