Owning a firearm in Kenya has long been perceived as an act for the wealthy or politically powerful individuals but this ought not to be the case, especially, after witnessing the prompt response of private gun owners to terror attacks at the Westgate Mall and the Dusit D2 complex.
Civilians are allowed to own a certain type of firearms given they meet a number of stipulated requirements as listed below:
One must be over 21 years of age.
One is considered an adult in Kenya if they are 18 years and above with an Identity Card to prove.
To own a gun, however, 18 years of age is still too young as the set minimum age is 21 years with the process expected to take 8 months to 2 years before one can actually be handed the firearm if they indeed meet all the requirements.
Valid Clearance Certificate
Civilians applying to own a gun in Kenya are required to have a certificate of clearance from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and to also fill a form with the Kenya Firearms Act.
Applicants must also pass background checks such as mental checkups to ascertain their mental state before being handed a firearm.
Valid Training Certificate
Applicants must be adequately trained in the use of small arms and hence handed a certificate proving they are indeed fully trained.
Civilians are only allowed to own small arms and guns such as Ak47, G3 and MP5 are not open to ownership by civilians. A proposed amendment, Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2015, provides for imprisonment for life for those found in possession of this category of firearms.
Firearms issued to civilians should not be fitted with a silencer or flash while the number of firearms one can own is not regulated by the law but no one should own more than one gun for their safety alone.
The reason for Owning a Firearm
One is required to prove their need to own a firearm and self-protection is never a legit reason according to the police as they are more than capable to provide protection to the public in most circumstances.
One could, however, get a firearm in extreme cases where their statuses expose them to the risks of criminal attack; s/he would be allowed to possess a gun for personal protection.