Police investigate all gun licences

Police investigate all gun licences
Police investigate all gun licences

Africa-Press – Lesotho. POLICE Commissioner Holomo Molibeli says the police are investigating all gun licences in Lesotho. Commissioner Molibeli told thepost last night that the police will verify how every gun licence was issued.

“We are investigating to establish the authenticity of the licences of people who hold guns,” Commissioner Molibeli said.

“We want to find out if the licences that they have are authentic or fake,” the police boss said.

He said although illegal guns are prevalent in Lesotho the police suspect that even some licenced guns are in the wrong hands. The probe comes on the back of a massive spike in gun-related crimes in recent months.

Murders and robberies have overstretched the poorly funded police. Desperate to contain the situation, the police stopped issuing gun licences last December. Last night Commissioner Molibeli said there is a high possibility that some who have firearm licences have acquired them fraudulently.

For one to be issued a licence to own a gun in Lesotho, there should be a letter of recommendation from the village chief stating clearly why the applicant qualifies to own a firearm.

Eligibility is based on whether the applicant is at risk because of their occupation or material possessions. A person with a criminal record is not eligible for a licence.

The commissioner is worried that “it seems everyone applying for a licence is issued with one”. The police’s decision to stop issuing licences and to probe existing ones is an admission that its licencing system is in shambles.

But even if it manages to close loopholes and corruption in the licensing system the police face a much bigger challenge with illegal guns. There is a massive flow of illegal firearms from South Africa, some as cheap as a few hundreds of maloti.

A moratorium on licences could force people to resort to illegal firearms, defeating the whole point of regulating firearms. It doesn’t help that the sentences for those caught with illegal firearms are not deterrent enough. Most of those convicted for illegal possession of a firearm get away with small fines.

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