Liberia: LiNCSA Initiates Direct Community Engagement on Civilian Arms Registration Exercise (CARE-2020) in the Southeast
MONROVIA – In fulfillment of its mandate, the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), has ended the second phase of its Direct Community Engagements on the Civilian Arms Registration for hunters Campaign with stakeholders in Sinoe, Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties respectively. The essence of the campaign was to raise awareness amongst relevant authorities and the general public in those counties with specific focus on the hunting population.
The Community Engagement exercises were characterized by the conduct of meetings with local government officials including Superintendents, City Mayors, amongst others and the appearances on radio talks shows within the three counties.
The Small Arms Team also held face to face interaction with the general public at their various Intellectual Centers in Greenville, Zwedru, Gompa City (popularly known as Ganta and Sanniquelle, Nimba County among others.
Speaking at those Intellectual Centers, LiNCSA Boss, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II, informed citizens that the Commission is charged with the authority to regulate the use, manufacturing and distribution of small Arms across Liberia. According to Atty. Grigsby, Section 1.5 of the 2015 Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of Liberia, the Commission is authorized to maintain a National Arms Registry. “In order to provide accurate and comprehensive records for all marked small arms, ammunition and other related materials within Liberia.
The Chairman also said that the Liberia National Police in collaboration with the Small Arms Commission shall maintain and establish a National Arms Registry.”
Also speaking on the “Talk About It” evening interactive phone- in radio program on Smile FM in Zwedru, the Chairman of LiNCSA provided overview of the entire Civilian Arms Registration Exercise for hunters, which according to him is in fulfillment of the mandate of the Small Arms Commission.
Chairman Grigsby said, the Small Arms Commission has obligation under the Fire Arms and Ammunition Regulation to conduct ‘Direct Community Engagements’ on the Civilian Arms Registration Campaign with stakeholders in the County. He asserted that the Commission cannot raise awareness and ensure full compliance without relevant authorities and the general public full knowledge of the Civilian Arms Registration.
Atty. Grigsby used the occasion to reveal that the “voluntary single barrels registration process will last for six (6) months as of January 31, 2020 and will cost each hunter hundred (100) United States Dollars for a permit and license while the amount of two hundred (200) United States Dollars will be a fee charge for legal residents in possession of single barrel hunting guns who seek to obtain a permit and license so as to exercise the right to legally hunt as enshrined in the arms control law of Liberia (FACA 2015).
The LiNCSA Boss further stated that the process will ensure that the Commission is contributing to the National Budget. He clarified that a hunter will be restricted to one hunting gun pursuant to FACA (2015).
The Small Arms Boss added that while government recognizes the fact that single barrels are major sources of livelihoods for the Liberian hunting population, hunters have limited right to possess single which is conditioned upon obtaining a permit and a license. Hunters in possession of Single barrel without permit and license are in violation and will face the full weight of the law if they do not take advantage of the voluntary registration exercise in their respective counties.
“Let me use this medium to caution every Liberian that it is advisable to make maximum use of this voluntary exercise now, as beyond this period, we will not hesitate to enforce the law, making use of the relevant security entities, including the Liberia National Police which is our partner in this drive.” Chairman Grigsby asserted.
Atty. Grigsby also explicitly articulated the benefits of the civilian arms registration to the security in Sinoe County. He specifically emphasized guns violence prevention, crime reduction and tracing of illicit small arms and light weapons on as an imperative to increase the confidence of the citizens in the security of the state. He made these assertion on “Liberty Morning Drive” a widely listened to radio show on the Liberty Broadcasting Services in Greenville, Sinoe County.
Chairman Grigsby noted that the Small Arms Commission in executing its mandate of the Fire Arms Regulation that calls for public education and awareness, extended his community engagement on the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise in Gompa City and held a special live studio chat with the public on Radio Seletorwah in Gompa City, Nimba County.
The final stakeholders meeting was held at the Sanniquelle, Namba County Administrative Hall with the Development Superintendent and other local officials. The Nimba County Authorities upon being briefed by the Chairperson of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms, welcomed the exercise and pledged their fullest support. The County Authorities of Nimba overwhelmingly indicated that the process was very necessary and timely and will greatly help the County Security Council in documenting, tracing, marking arms in the possession of the civilian, specifically hunters.
Chairman Grigsby in concluding his messages to the three counties, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh and Nimba, reaffirmed the Commission’s readiness to combat illegal use, manufacturing, transport and illicit trade of single barrel gun in the country and to fully decentralize its activities within the counties through partnership with the local authorities.
Chairman Grigsby informed the three County authorities that the use of single barrel gun by citizens in Liberia is a ‘condition and not an absolute right’ which can only be guaranteed and exercised by hunters upon obtaining a permit and a valid license from the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms in collaboration with the Liberia National Police (LNP).
The Small Arms Boss strongly emphasized that the government of Liberia through the Liberia National Police and other Joint Security Agencies will not hesitate to robustly enforce the FACA (2015) and hold would-be violators to bear the full force of the law. He told the citizens of Sinoe, Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties through their respective county leaders that the registration of single barrel guns in Sinoe County will start May, 2020 while the exercise in Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties will commence on March, 21 and 28, 2020 respectively.
According to Chairman Grigsby, the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise which he tagged ‘Arms Control without Borders’ is intended to boost security and safety in the country and create a conducive atmosphere for citizens.
Chairman Grigsby also said the move will make the Commission to contribute to government’s revenue generation drive and at the same time sustain the exercise across the country especially at a time when the government is challenged in raising revenue to fully fund all of its priorities to include a comprehensive arms control program.
In the drive to fully cover the counties and decentralize the structure of the Commission, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby informed the press in Sanniquelle, that the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise will be declared open and commenced on February 29, 2020 in Gbarpolu as part of the decentralization plan following the official launch of the national exercise on January 31, 2020 in Robertsport, Grand Capemount County.