Guns: Commons Wikimedia

A new report by Geneva-based Small Arms has revealed the extent to which many private citizens are “packing heat”. The survey shows that the Kenyans civilians have acquired 70,000 guns for personal use in the past two years.

The survey reveals that private citizens own 750,000 firearms up from 680,000 in 2016. But the catch is that the guns are obtained through illegal means. This shocking stat means that Kenya is the East African nation with the most guns in private hands, despite Tanzania having 8 million more people.

Another startling aspect of the illegal gun possession is that out of the 750,000 private firearms, only 8,136 are registered which is one percent of the total!

Licensing of guns in Kenya is done by the Firearms Licensing Board. Anyone who seeks to own a gun has to undergo rigorous vetting from the board.

Owning a gun without a firearm certificate is illegal in Kenya. The penalty for it can be a jail sentence of not less than 7 years.

The 750,000 figure dwarfs that of the disciplined forces with the military having 45,790 while the police have 51,527 in their possesion.

This report also brings to light a challenge that the police are facing in keeping law and order. If the people you are supposed to be policing have more firepower than you, then that is definitely a recipe for disaster.

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