Liberian Legislature Passes Firearm and Ammunition Control Act

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Monrovia – The House of Representatives has concurred with the Liberian senate on the passage of the Firearm and Ammunition Control Act of Liberia, 2015. The House took the decision after the Joint Committee on National security, Defense and Judiciary presented its report on the act.

In the report submitted to the plenary of the House of Representatives, the committee said, “in keeping with International law, and as clearly defined in Article 34(f) of the 1986 constitution of the Republic of Liberia which gives the legislature the power to approve treaties, convention and such other international agreements negotiated on behalf of Liberia; it is vividly understandable that the National Legislature has the authority to make, approve, and or ratify national and International laws and agreements.

In the committee’s findings submitted to plenary of the House of Representatives, they said, the rationale behind the proposed instrument is to prevent and to reduce the violence caused by small arms and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, ammunition and other related materials by putting in place a legal frame work that control and tracing of small arms and light weapons, ammunition and other related materials.

The committee report said: “Mr. speaker and distinguished colleagues, our findings also revealed that because Liberia is a signatory to the ECOWAS convention on small Arms and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and their ammunition and other related materials, it is our obligation to domesticate said convention and establish an efficient and accountable mechanism for the registration of small arms and light weapons, their ammunition and other related materials.”

The committee said, on a basis of Liberia’s signatory to ECOWAS convention on small Arms and light weapons, coupled with Liberia’s involvement in the ratification of other related international conventions and protocols, the Liberian National commission on small arms was subsequently established, for the sole purpose of providing policy guidance, research and monitoring of national efforts to control the flow of arms and prevent, track, combat and eradicate the illicit trade and the proliferations of small arms and light weapons within and across Liberia’s border.

“Honorable speaker and Distinguished Members of this illustrious body, having also experienced that Liberia has suffered from years of violent conflict, small arms and light weapons being the major tool used to destabilize peace and security; the number of incidents of armed violence and crime within our borders and the presence of unlicensed small arms continue to present a grave danger to public safety and national security, the committee said.

In the committee’s recommendation to plenary, it said, mindful of the growing wave of security threat and danger that unlicensed users of small arms and light weapons continue to pose within the country and being also aware that the purpose of this bill is to prevent and reduce the violence caused by small arms and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and as well put in place a legal framework that will regulate the control and tracing of small arms and light weapons.

“Having listened to the reading of this-inclusive report under the required signatures of members of the joint committee on national security, defense and Judiciary, it is therefore our enthusiastic anticipation that this honorable body will endorse our recommendation which aimed at concurring with the Liberian senate for onward submission to the chief executive for approbation,” the report concluded.

Henry Karmo, [email protected]

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