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Samoa police give gun owners stern warning

The Police have issued a stern warning to gun owners to ensure their weapons are licensed or they risk the wrath of the law. The warning comes from Assistant Police Commissioner; Le’aupepe Fatu Pula who says the growing number of gun incidents is major concern. Last week, a 5-year-old boy was killed at Samamea Fagaloa after an 8-year-old cousin accidentally pulled the trigger of a loaded 16-gauge rifle.The 8-year-old has been taken into custody with his uncle who owns the gun. Le’aupepe said the eight year old cannot be charged. He points to the Crimes and Ordinance Act which states that “no person shall be convicted of an offence by reason of any act done or omitted by him when under the age of 8 years.“So we can’t charge the boy; he’s too young,” Le’aupepe said. “But it’s possible that the person who owns the firearm could be charged for having an unregistered gun.” Le ’aupepe said pol i c e ar e continuing their investigation into the matter.Meanwhile, the leader of the Tautua Samoa Party, Palusalu’e Fa’apo II is urging the Ministry of Police and the Doing it for the environment Customs Department to impose tighter controls on the import and use of firearms. He also pointed the finger at careless owners who do not take precautions with their firearms.Palusalu’e pointed out that firearms are so accessible that is makes it easy for people to commit a crime. “Samoa has a gun problem,” he said.“There are too many guns accessible to people in rural areas. “…and when they’re accessible and available to them whether they intend to use it for protection or for whatever reason, there will come a time where they will be used for all the wrong reasons that are unlawful and illegal.”Palusalu’e recommended that unlawful firearms be destroyed. He suggested there should be tighter screening processes into the weapons before they are allowed into Samoa.“We should also look into reasons why guns are being brought into the country and weigh up if they’re necessary or not,” he said. Although he said that it’s difficult for police and Customs to regulate things when there are always people who try to smuggle in guns illegally, he believes that it can be done. Le’aupepe supports Palusalue.