Civilians are allowed to own guns as long as they seek permission from the National Police and pay the designated annual fee.
This was revealed by the coordinator of small arms at Rwanda National Police, Emmanuel K. Misingo.According to him, owning a private gun is legal as defined by Law no. 33 4009, of 18th November 2009.
The law is also backed by a Presidential Order, signed on 30 May 2011, which outlines the requirements needed for one to qualify to own a gun.
“Depending on the job of a person, or the situation in which he is, one might need a firearm for personal security, though we have adequate security in place already,” said Misingo.
According to the law, an annual fee of Rwf 500,000 is paid for each individual arm and Rwf 100,000 for each gun owned by a private security firm.
The holder of the gun should also be over 21 year of age and proved by doctors as mentally sound.
They should also have credibility from their area of residence to avoid using the weapon to commit crime, Misingo said.
People are also allowed to trade in rifles, if they have been proven to conform to the requisite security conditions to run the business.
The law also indicates that Police have the authority to determine the quantity of ammunition to be dealt in or displayed for sale.
Misingo further points out that civilians are restricted from owning automatic rifles.
“Some guns, like AK 47s are illegal among civilians because they are automatic, and meant for war. Even private security firms are not be allowed to own such rifles.”
He said that police maintains a record of privately owned guns which are marked upon purchase.“This will help us to easily determine the illegal ones and also avoid probable crimes,” said Misingo.
Illegal possession of a firearm is punishable by a fine of over Rwf 1 million or five years in jail or both.A sentence is determined by how one acquired the gun and what he or she uses it for.