By Kruah Thompson
The Chairman of the Small Arms Commission of Liberia, Attorney Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II condemns in the strongest term, reckless discharge of firearms by state security officers.
Atty. Grigsby says it has come to the attention of the Commission that there are careless discharges of firearms by individuals in different security institutions.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information’s briefing on Thursday, August 11, 2022, Chairman Grigsby indicated that as Liberia goes to elections next year, the Small Arms Commission will derive a policy for people, carrying firearms.
Therefore, he made it clear to heads of security institutions that any officer, who recklessly discharges a firearm to injure or murder another person or citizen, said officers will be penalized in line with the law.
He calls on all security institutions in the country to make a public report on these discharges and to go beyond by visiting homes of victims.
He says under the new regulation will require all private military institutions to have a competent clearance beyond their unit.
Atty. Grigsby notes that under the standard operating procedures of most units when they are trained to the usage of a specific arm such as bush master, “you are not to possess an AK-47 raffle or some other weapons.
“You are to use only the weapon you were trained with. The Commission is going to follow up on that. and this exercise is going to be happening from September up to the elections.”
He says from now up to the elections any security officer who has State weapon should be mindful of how it’s handled because anyone who will recklessly use them will be prosecuted.
“Not even a legislator is allowed to possess a firearm and at the same time no unit under the law of Liberia is also allowed to issue a firearm except the Liberia National Small Arms Commission, with the approval of the President”, he adds.
He explains that under the old law of Liberia, both the EPS and Police were responsible to give lessons, but under the new law, no institution is allowed other than the Commission, stressing that anyone caught will be persecuted by law as well.
He discloses that since 2013, the United States Embassy near Monrovia has been providing support to countries across Africa to initiate activities on what is called ‘Silence the GUN.’
Under this silence, GUN member states will organize to talk with the public and security institutions in the country about the need to silence GUN in Liberia, Atty. Grigsby explains.
An agent of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), the elite guards of the Liberian Presidency shot and killed a man identified as Valentine Teck Johnson on late Sunday, June 3, 2022, near Police Academy Junction in Paynesville, including similar incidents involving police discharging forearms on citizens. Editing by Jonathan Browne