Banning guns will not solve anything: Governor

Banning the use of illegal guns in Papua New Guinea will not solve the country’s issue of gun abuse.

This was one of the sentiments shared by East Sepik Governor Allan Bird when airing his thoughts about the Government’s move to ban guns in the country.

The East Sepik Governor, whilst in favour of the Police Minister’s move to ban guns in the country, stated that guns should not be blamed for violence. Rather, underlying factors like unemployment and better education should be focused on to ensure the country’s young population has sound moral values.

“Let’s get to the root of the problem. It’s not the gun itself that just jumps up and shoots somebody.

“Not everyone has access to guns, but everybody has access to a bush knife,” said Governor Bird.

“I banned beer in the East Sepik Province because we were getting reports from the hospital that a large number of people coming in to be stitched was alcohol-related. And it doesn’t matter what you want to do, if there isn’t a gun they will use something else.

“They will find anything that is convenient to use as a weapon,” expressed Governor Bird.

He also highlighted the ongoing lack of police manpower manning the Indonesian/ PNG border, describing how easy it was to bring guns across to PNG.

“First of all, we need stronger policing along our Indonesian border because I can tell you a lot of the guns entering our country are coming through my province.

“When 120 of my policemen decided to leave their jobs because they were unhappy with their management and now they’re everywhere else and I have only one car patrolling one of the largest provinces in the country at 2am, obviously it’s so easy to get a speed boat and enter PNG,” explained the Governor.

Meantime, Communications, Information Technology and Energy Minister Sam Basil, who opposes the banning of guns, said it was impractical to ban guns particularly for security firms or individuals that need to carry large sums of money into rural areas.

“Before all guns are removed, there has to be the assurance that there are police everywhere to maintain law and order,” said Basil.

He also called for tougher penalties for illegal gun manufacturers and those who are simply in possession of illegal guns.

Police Minister Jelta Wong tabled his report on the 15th of February this year. This is not the first time the government is talking about the banning of guns in the country.

Meredith Kuusa