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Sunday, 10 June 2012

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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.

 

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