The Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II has outlined his vision of the Civilian Arms Registration for hunters to members of the Board of LiNCSA.
In a prepared presentation to members of the Board, Chairman Grigsby said, one of the major reasons for the Civilian Arms Registration is to ensure the control and regulation of both illicit and licit firearms, which remain a huge challenge in Liberia. The Small Arms Commission, according to the Chairman is aware of the porous condition of the borders with neighboring countries which has fueled in the proliferation of small arms and light weapons into Liberia.
The persistent reports of the misuse, coupled with the thriving trade of locally made firearms among the civilian population and the increase in trafficking and proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons around the country, the LiNCSA Boss said, has prompted the Commission to move with speed to arrest the situation to lunch and start of the Civilian Arms Registration on January 31, 2020 in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.
The Chairman told the Board, that LiNCSA seeks to ensure that at least Five thousand (5,000) holders of single barrel guns are registered and licensed nationwide to facilitate tracing and curtail misuse. Chairman Grigsby noted that the Commission in collaboration with the Liberia Nation Police will engage in a robust awareness campaign to encourage hunters to register and obtain a license for their hunting guns. More besides, the Commission will coordinate with the Police to also provide basic training in the area of maintenance, usage and safety to registered hunters.
Chairman Grigsby informed the Board that revenue generated from the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise will be used to enhance the work of both the Government and the Small Arms Commission, stressing that 60 percent will go toward the Commission’s operations and 40 percent into Government Account.
According to the Chairman, those coming to obtain license will have to go through a rigorous security procedures put in place by both the Commission and the Liberia National Police. Speaking on the legality of the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise, Chairman Grigsby named two legal instruments, the ECOWAS Convention and the Firearms Control and Ammunitions Act of Liberia that serve as legal backing to carry out the exercise.
The Board through the National Security Advisor Hon. Jefferson S. Karmoh welcomed the decision of the Small Arms Commission to carry out the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise, and described the process as a vision to improve the security and wellbeing of the Liberian Society. Mr. Karmoh who presided over the first Board Meeting of the year, called on the Commission and collaborating partners to explore all available possibilities to ensure the success of the exercise.
The Board called on the Small Arms Commission to work with other members, especially the Forestry Development Authority to raise awareness on the exercise so as to educate hunters in preventing the killing of endangered animal species in the country because Liberia is a signatory to international instruments protecting endangered animals.
The Board said, while it is true that hunters need to be licensed, they must be educated on provisions of the National Wildlife Conservation and Protected Area Management Law which provides for the preservation and protection of wildlife and their natural habitat as national heritage.
The membership meeting of the Board brought together key national security agencies and Ministries as well as civil society organizations in the area of arm control and prevention.
They include, Office of the National Security Advisor to the President, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of National Defense, Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police, National Security Agency, Executive Protection Service, Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency, Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Finance, Liberia Revenue Authority, Ministry of Education and the Liberia Action Network on Small Arms.