PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 22) – Defense Force Lt. Col. James Laki has raised an issue that has been of concern to Papua New Guineans for a long time.

It is the issue of prominent people — those in positions of authority — being licensed to carry firearms.

The use of guns in violent crimes is a matter of enormous concern to everyone in the country and it is beyond belief that those who are placed in positions of responsibility to solve this problem are arming themselves instead of protecting the people. The majority of little people are vulnerable to attacks by criminals with guns and they have been crying for years for leaders to do something about disarming those thugs. 

Yet those who are supposed to be protecting them are looking after themselves — arming themselves and making sure the people know they are armed.

This a total disgrace. 

The job of protecting any prominent person whose life may be in danger rests with the police. 

Some leaders have disgraced themselves by the use of firearms licensed under their names by threatening the lives of innocent people.

Others have carried guns to places where they were not supposed to — the recent case involving the Air Niugini flight to Singapore is a case in point. Some have had guns in their possession stolen or "disappeared" under questionable circumstances and gone into the wrong hands for unlawful activities.

The evidence is overwhelming and lend weight to the proposition that gun laws be reviewed and then the issue of firearm licenses to prominent persons be seriously reconsidered.

It is morally wrong for those in high places to be looking after themselves in this way and leaving the little people vulnerable to all kinds of unpleasant situations.

The proliferation of illegal gun use throughout the country must be a warning to law makers that unless they act on this serious matter, Papua New Guineans will be seeing more innocent blood on the streets not before long. The time for talking has long gone. It is time to act.

April 23, 2004

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