THE Centre for Defence and Security (CDS) has called on the government to introduce a regulatory regime to control the movement of arms in the country.
"This regulatory regime should include provisions such as a regulator to ensure licensing for small arms imports, licensing criteria, licensing for distribution and retail of small arms and ammunition in Ghana.
"Guns should move strictly from a licensed importer to licensed distributor or retailer to a competent and licensed owner under the strict oversight of the regulator," the centre said in a statement issued in Accra on Tuesday and copied the Ghanaian Times.
Signed by Yaro Kasambata, Executive Director, CDS, the statement said there was the need to review the mandate of the Ghana National Commission on Small Arms from its current status as an advisory body, to a regulator with mandate to oversee activities in the supply chain of the small arms and ammunitions industry.
According to the centre, the influx of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Ghana had myriad implications for peace and security of the country, especially as it heads into the 2020 general elections.
The CDS noted that the estimated number of guns circulating in civilian hands stood at 2.3 million as at 2014 with 47 percent of that uncounted for due to "weak monitoring regimes and non-existent regulatory frame work."
In the view of the CDS, regulatory framework for the importation of fire arms in Ghana was "patchy" adding that "available legislation in Ghana for managing fire arms is insufficient and out of tune with contemporary regulations for the effective management of small arms and light weapons."
Ghana, the centre said, was known globally as a transit point for small arms, light weapons and ammunitions saying that "most fire arms enter the country legally and leave the jurisdiction illegally through our porous borders into the ecology of illicit fire arms in the sub region."
In the process of exporting illegally, "some of the guns remain in Ghana and cultivate local clientele which is mostly black market with no effective monitoring."
These fire arms has fueled tribal and chieftaincy conflicts, armed robbery, kidnappings, clashes of nomadic herdsmen, illegal mining, "landguardism" amongst others, the Centre stated, adding that "the lethal combination of illicit arms in circulation and weak institution curbs portend dire implications for the eternal security of Ghana."
It observed that there was no licensed or authorised institution for training and certification of the competence of civilians who wish to possess fire arms.
To address the dangers the circulation of illegal arms posed to the country, the CDS called on stakeholders to join hands to educate the public on the lethal consequences of civilian gun ownership.
The centre added that there was the need for thorough evaluation of Ghana's justice systems to make it responsive to the needs of the people, thereby discouraging the crave for guns as a means of ensuring personal security.
"Civilian gun ownership" the Centre for Defence and Security said "is not a solution but a problem" hence the need for security institutions to act in ways that increases the confidence of citizens to assuage the demand for gun for home and personal protection. The less guns in circulation, the safer we are."