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Legalities around gun use in Ghana

In Ghana, any individual who is eighteen (18) years old or above, mentally sound, physically fit and of good character can apply for a firearm for use either to protect himself/herself or for gaming.

Firearms
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An individual who wishes to apply for a personal firearm must first report to the police, precisely the firearms office, to be taken through due process.

The police do not register firearms in the name of a company or corporate organization, since the organization is an artificial person that cannot go through the laid down process. Somebody must represent the company to go through the process of licensing or registering.

A licensed firearm is to be used exclusively by the individual in whose name it is licensed and registered. It must be used for the purpose assigned for its acquisition.

A firearm, once licensed in the name of a person, is not transferable. Nonetheless, there are exceptions to the rule. Sections 3 subsection 1 (a) (b)2 and 3 of the Arms and Ammunition Decree, NRCD.9 of 1972, spell out clearly the procedure for change of ownership of firearms.

But registering or licensing a firearm comes with a cost to the individual who intends to have one. Below is a list of prices an applicant is expected to pay at every stage of the process:

Application Form - 350.00

Vetting Form - 100.00

Approval Form - 150.00

Additional Quota Form - 300.00

Review Form - 200.00

Renewal of Quota Form - 200.00

It is worthy of note that an application for a permit to import or export arms and ammunition is different from seeking to own a licensed gun for personal use.

While the firearms office of the Ghana Police Service has the power to handle the latter, it is only the Minister for the Interior that handles the former. The Minister has the power to approve or disapprove the application.

There is, however, a terrifying number of firearms that have been acquired illegally and are in the possession of people who use them to commit crimes.

In 2016, it was reported that the ratio of illegal arms to the then population of 27 million people was 1:25. It was estimated that there were 2.3 million weapons in civilian hands in Ghana, with only 1.2 million of that number having been registered

Reference: police.gov.gh and mint.gov.gh

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