Following directive from IGP:
Islandwide crackdown on illegal firearms
Police yesterday began a massive islandwide crackdown on illegal
firearms and weapons on a directive by IGP N.K. Illangakoon.
IGP Illangakoon has sent a circular to Officers-in-Charge of police
stations islandwide to seize illegal firearms forthwith by conducting
raids on hideouts of criminals and other suspected individuals, Police
Media Spokesman Ajith Rohana told the Sunday Observer.
“Illegal firearms and weapons are used by underworld gangs despite it
being an offence under the Firearms’ Ordinance.
The possession and transport of such illegal weapons is an offence
under the law. Special police teams will be deployed to seize such
illegal firearms from those who possess them. There will be frequent
raids to nab the culprits,” SSP Rohana said.
The primary law relating to small arms in Sri Lanka, the Firearms’
Ordinance No. 33 of 1916, was last amended in August 1996.
Although the Government has granted several amnesties to return
illegal firearms, a large number of illicit firearms and weapons (such
as hand grenades) are in circulation. Illegal home-made firearms such as
Gal Kattas and trap guns have been used by criminals to commit crimes in
the past but many of them have switched to automatic guns and pistols.
On the other hand, the overall level of licensed civilian possession
of small arms in Sri Lanka is estimated to be low. It is estimated that
there are around 30,500 licensed small arms nationwide.
The National Commission Against the Proliferation of Illicit Small
Arms (NCAPISA) in a 2008 report identified trap guns, shotguns, locally
made Gal Katas, pistols, T-56s and muzzle-loading guns as the most
prevalent types of small arms in circulation, in descending order.
Although there is no exact estimate of the number of illegal firearms in
circulation, some reports have suggested a figure of around 50,000.
According to police statistics, in 1999 to 2005 small arms were used
to commit 2,659 homicides, 298 suicides and 1,596 attempted homicides.
In the same period, 805 abductions, 518 cases of grievous hurt, 392
rapes and 10,774 robberies were carried out using small arms.