25 Jun 2002

Solomons opposition fears that law may make it legal to keep stolen weapons

11:01 am on 25 June 2002

The Solomon Islands opposition leader says he fears that the government may pass a law to make it legal to have stolen weapons.

Patteson Oti says a gun amnesty expired three weeks ago but police have not moved against those still holding weapons illegally although, he claims, police know who they are.

Mr Oti says while the public and the international community want to remove the weapons threat, the government has indicated that it could get around the problem.

"It's easy for the government to come around because it cannot deal with it under provisions from the firearms ordinance the only way that it could get that responsibility away from itself to be accused of not ensuring the arms are returned is basically to legitimize to possession of these arms"

Patteson Oti says this could mean that the guns would be defined as hunting weapons.