Senate Emboldens Small Arms Commission With Amended Act -Aligns Arms Control Laws With Global Arms Treaty

MONROVIA – The world is on edge in recent years due to the wanton misuse and abuse of fire arms and ammunition by mad men. Untold lives are lost daily as result of the arms onslaught visited on peaceful people both in war time and peace time, creating more misery, more anger and more need for more deadly weapons. Coming out of war and haphazard disarmament process, Liberia is vulnerable and at serious risk, prompting concerns for more control measures and policies not only encapsulated in legislations but also consistent with international best practice. As The Analyst reports, the Liberia Senate has moved a step forward in achieving better gun and ammunition control with a historic amendment of the current Act creating the Liberia National Commission on Arms.    

The Liberian Senate has passed draft amendments to the Act establishing the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms to expand its scope beyond Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) to all convention arms thus establishing the Liberia National Commission on Arms as well  Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015 to domesticate the United Nations Global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

The passage of the amendments to the both Arms Control laws was followed by public hearings and engagements led by Senator Conmany B. Wesseh, of River Gee County, Acting Chairman of the Senate standing Committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs and Senator Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman, of Grand Capemount County, Chairman, Senate standing committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petition.

The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms conveys its appreciation to the Honorable Pro tempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator Albert Tugbe Chie of Grand Kru County and the Chairman on Executive of the Senate, Honorable Saah H. Joseph of Montserrado County as well as all Members of the Honorable Liberian Senate for the timely passage of the both amended acts pending concurrence by the House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature.

The Passage of the amended acts to include, the Act establishing the Liberia National Commission on Arms and the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015 places Liberia as the leading country within the ECOWAS Sub-Region for domesticating the United Nations Global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and instituting legal and regulatory frameworks to improve the control of Conventional Arms including Small arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Other Related Materials.

The Commission extends appreciation to His Excellency Amb. George Manneh Weah, Sr.,President of the Republic of Liberia for his continuous support towards the improvement of Arms Control and ensuring full compliance of all national, regional and international legal instruments on Arms control.

The Commission states that the singular act of the President of Liberia to submit the both amended acts to the National Legislature demonstrates strong political will to ensure effective management of weapons, ammunition, explosives and other related materials within and across the borders of Liberia and the West African Sub-Region.

The Commission further  extends appreciation to its partners to include ECOWAS Commission, with support from the European Union (EU) and German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) for the Organized Crime West Africa Response to Trafficking Project (OCWAR-T), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Expertise France, United Nations Institute for Development Research (UNIDIR) as well as National Security Agencies, Civil Society Organizations and the Media.

The Commission emphasizes that it will remain engaged with the Honorable House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature for concurrence of the both amended acts.

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