Ethiopian Parliament Approves New Firearms Law

By Staff Reporter

firearm-law-EthiopiaJanuary 9, 2020 ( -- The Ethiopian parliament on Thursday approved new firearms administration and control law presented to it by its Legal, Justice and Democratic Affairs Standing Committee.

The new law intends to create awareness on the disadvantages of carrying firearms and establish confidence among the public that the government is the only responsible organ to maintain the peace and security of citizens.

Unlike the previous laws, this law prohibits carrying weapons, including daggers, swords, knives, spear, blade, arrow and the like.

It is recalled that those arms, also referred to as the silent killers, were used in ethnic and religious-based clashes in which hundreds of people were killed particularly after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed assumed office in April 2018.

The law, however, recognizes the rights of some ethnic groups and citizens, including the Afar people, who traditionally carry a dagger and different types of swords as part of their culture.

The bill also allows the use of firearms by individuals outside the normal security establishment who safeguard the well-being of citizens and maintain peace and security of the country.

According to the new law, unless otherwise licensed by the concerned government body, any party or individual will not be allowed to own, import, export, hoard, keep, use, broker, buy, sell, transfer, smuggle, manufacture, offer training on the use of firearms, carry sharp materials and eyeglasses that are used in battlefields.

According to the new law, those firearms which will be licensed by the government will have special signs so that they can be easily identified.

The 19-page law states that only the government is eligible to import, export, seize, and maintain firearms.

Those people who are eligible to own weapons cannot carry them during demonstrations, at religious places, recreational centers, learning institutions, sport, and public places. Directive will be issued on the number of bullets an eligible person or entity can have.

The law states that members of political parties, people working in religious institutions, NGOs and learning institutions are not allowed to own firearms.

Citizens who used to own firearms before this law came into force should get their firearms registered. Failing to do so will result in confiscation of the firearms by the government.

Individuals are required to renew their licenses every two years while organizations need to renew their licenses every five years.

The federal police and national firearms controlling office will implement the law based on existing technologies.

As per the new law, an Ethiopian national who is eligible to carry a firearm can do so as long he/she is mentally fit and has good manners and is not addicted to any illegal substance.

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