Why Nigerians should be permitted to carry rifles – Ned Nwoko

Ned Nwoko, a Delta North senatorial district politician, has outlined why a bill allowing individuals to own and carry firearms should be passed.

He emphasized the importance of the program in view of the security challenges, particularly the recent Plateau killings on December 24, which resulted in the lives of at least 100 people.

He said:

“An amendment bill allowing civilian firearm ownership must be introduced in the Senate.

“My bill on self-defense and firearms ownership regulation, currently listed in the Senate awaiting its first reading, deals with this pressing issue.

“I am pleased that the topic has gained national significance, sparking diverse opinions and discussions that predominantly fall into two camps – one in opposition and the other in support.”

He also said:

“It’s evident that the existing security measures have not been sufficient in safeguarding our communities.

“Allowing law-abiding citizens to possess firearms could potentially provide a sense of security and a means to protect themselves and their families from immediate threats.”

The Delta politician pointed out that many streams of control must be used to maintain control in order to prevent sabotage and misuse.

He said:

“However, it is crucial to emphasise that the initiative to permit firearm ownership is accompanied by stringent regulations and comprehensive training.

“This approach ensures that firearms are in the hands of responsible individuals who understand the gravity of such ownership and are equipped to handle these weapons safely.

“The illegal smuggling of arms is a significant concern due to the prohibition on bearing arms. Introducing licensed dealerships for firearms could potentially address this issue by creating a regulated avenue for legal firearm acquisition.”

He added:

“This move not only seeks to curtail illegal arms trafficking but also provides an opportunity for generating income through licensing fees and taxes imposed on these dealerships.

“The revenue generated from licensing fees and taxes on firearm dealerships could be allocated towards bolstering law enforcement agencies, improving security infrastructure, and implementing initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of insecurity.”

According to Nwoko, in order to be eligible to own a firearm, a person must first obtain references from four doctors attesting to their mental health, the approval of the local government chairman for community validation, a traditional leader (like the king) who serves as a guarantor role, stressing cultural trust, and confirmation from the Divisional Police Officer confirming the absence of criminal activity.

He stated:

“These requirements aim to ensure a comprehensive vetting process, emphasising mental fitness, community support, cultural ties, and a clean record for responsible firearm ownership.

“Proposed firearms for civilian ownership include single and double-barrel shotguns, pistols with a maximum capacity of six rounds, pump-action shotguns, and any other types suggested by the Ministry of Defence.

“This selection offers diverse options suitable for self-defense while emphasising control, regulation, and expert recommendations to ensure responsible ownership and mitigate potential risks associated with firearm possession.

“Nonetheless, this approach necessitates a meticulous regulatory framework and oversight to prevent any adverse consequences and prioritize public safety above all else.”

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