Ethiopia : Firearms control draft legislation got approval in parliament

The Federal Police Commission will organize a National Firearms Control Division to enforce new legislation across Ethiopia. Only the Federal government has the power to import firearms

Ethiopia _ Firearms control _ legislation
Photo : from file. Credit : EBC

January 9, 2020

The ninth regular session of the Ethiopian parliament approved on Thursday legislation on firearms control.  It was presented to the parliament by Foreign Affairs and Peace Standing Committee as well as the Law and Justice standing committee in the parliament

Ten members of the People’s House of Representatives raised questions on the draft and offered remarks before it passed.

Four parliamentarians abstained during the voting process while two voted against the bill, according to a report by Ethiopian News Agency ENA, state media.

According to government-affiliated news sources, the legislation is informed by an effort to create a belief among the people that carrying a firearm is useless, and that the government could maintain peace in the country. 

Ethiopia is a signatory to international conventions relating to firearms control and the new legislation is also intended to close any legal loopholes for the control of arms capable of implementing those international conventions as well.

And it restricts the sale or brokerage of firearms. Non-firearms weapons like a machete, mencha, assault knife, and arrows, among others, are included in the legislation.

With regard to the use of non-firearm weapons, possessing them in a way that endangers the public is prohibited.

The new legislation makes it illegal to purchase, sell, stockpile or circulate firearms, military binoculars, sniper binoculars, and firearms, and the production of them without government authorization. 

Those citizens who are already armed before this legislation will have up to one year, so long as they are not armed with a banned weapon, to appear before the regulatory body nearest to them and make it legal. And those who fail to do so will be confiscated by the regulatory agency.

Firearms that will be issued with government authorization will have an identification code. And if it does not have one, the entity that regulates firearms will prepare one.  Individuals with Firearm permission will have to renew it every two years while institutions need to do so every five years.

Based on Fana Broadcasting Corporate report, the Federal Police will institute a National FireArms Control Division and will carry out technologically assisted gun registry. 

Individuals applying for firearm permission need to have Ethiopian citizenship and free from alcohol or drug addiction, and free from mental health.

Entities with a legal authorization to possess a firearm are restricted from carrying it in public places, recreational places, sporting places and events, educational institutions and places of worship, and similar public places.

Certain institutions are not allowed to have permission to own or possess firearms, as reported by Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC). These include political parties, religious institutions and charitable organization among others.

The Federal government of Ethiopia has the only mandate to import-export firearms as per the new legislation which means that regional states do not have the legal authority to engage in the practice of acquiring firearms from abroad or export to overseas. 

The legislation is also said to be useful in terms of ensuring the rule of law in the country.

Illegal circulation of smuggled firearms have been one of the major challenges of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration which contributed to security crisis in different parts of Ethiopia.

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