Fresh vetting of private gun owners will proceed as directed by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i after the National Gun Owners Association withdrew an injunction barring the process.
NGAO chairman Anthony Wahome said the withdrawal followed deliberations on Monday with the CS and Attorney General Kariuki Kihara.
“There was good understanding in the meeting and we understood where the government was coming from. They also understood where we were coming from,” Wahome said after the meeting that was also attended by the NGAO legal team.
“The CS assured us and undertook that no member of NGAO who has a valid firearm certificate and is holding firearms legally would suffer any arbitrary revocation of their firearm license.”
Matiang’i had on December 17 last year ordered all gun owners to undergo mandatory fresh vetting within three months.
He said all civilian firearms holders must appear in person before the Firearms Licensing Board for vetting.
The CS also disbanded the Firearms Licencing Board and appointed new members.
The gun holders were to be issued with new smart licences after the vetting, review and authentication of their weapons and certificates.
Matiang’i said the decision was a matter of national security following lapses in the oversight of gun ownership and use by private citizens.
“Some lapses in the licensure of firearms dealers, civilian holders, and shooting range owners have led to the illegal possession, transfer, misuse, and trafficking of such weapons thereby posing major threats to national and regional security,” he said.
Matiang’i told illegal firearm holders to surrender them within a 90-day moratorium or face the full force of law.
But NGAO moved to court immediately and obtained a court order stopping the implementation of the gazette notice.
They argued that they saw no point in gun owners with genuine licenses undergoing fresh vetting.
The vetting process is usually long and may take up to even three years during which time holders will not be allowed to use their guns.
But Wahome said NGAO agreed to withdraw the case because they did not want to appear like they support illegal gun ownership and the digitisation of civilian gun holders in the country.
“We understand that there may be those who are not legally licensed,” he said.
He called on members of the association to cooperate with the Firearms Licensing Board when called upon for the digitization process.