In the quest to clamp down on the use of unauthorised firearms and light weapons, Member of Parliament for Manhyia North, Collins Owusu Amankwah has recommended that a Biometric Information Management System (BIMS) can be used to track and monitor firearms.
In a statement laid before the plenary, the Manhyia North MP Indicated that other jurisdictions use effective mechanisms to mark, monitor and track all arms in the system as well as combating illicit gun ownership through a Biometric Identification Management System.
Expressing his sentiments, Mr Owusu Amankwah stated that the National Commission for Small Arms and Light Weapons needs to be empowered and resourced enough to effectively address leakages such as tracking of illicit arms in the system, licensing and organising capacity training for licensed civilians on how to use civilian weapons.
Mr Owusu Amankwah disclosed that statistics from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service shows small arms constitute the main instruments used in armed robbery, carjacking and violent crimes. He added that 80 percent of weapons found on crime scenes are locally manufactured.
He again revealed that a survey conducted by the Firearms Bureau of the Police Service depicted that 1,236,128 weapons were registered between 1981 and 2013.
“It is surprising that fewer than 35,000 weapons licences were renewed each year apart from the year 2005 when 61,778 weapons licences were renewed. This indicates that less than 3 percent of gun permit holders renew their licences annually. It is clear that the country loses substantial revenue in this sector considering the number that renew their licence against the number that do not”, he explained.
In delivering his statement, Mr. Owusu Amankwah reiterated that local manufacturing industries of small arms need to be recognised for effective monitoring and streamlining of their operations.
On the economies of small arms and light weapons, Mr. Owusu Amankwah concluded that the country needs to digitise the system for effective monitoring and boosting of revenue for firearms.
In a submission on the statement presented on the floor, Klottey Korle MP, Zenator Agyemang-Rawlings added that the proliferation of small arms in the country poses a lot of dangers to citizens.
She explained that recent increase in the rate of armed robbery is as a result of illicit use of small arms and light weapons without any proper mechanism in controlling and tracking them.
She called on the government to put in measures to curb the menace.