25 Apr 2005

Catholic Bishops in PNG call for ban on private guns

10:11 am on 25 April 2005

The Catholic Bishops of Papua New Guinea are calling for a ban on private gun ownership in the country.

Steve Reichert, the Bishop of Mendi in the Southern Highlands, says the Bishops want parliament to enact law changes to enforce a ban, declare an amnesty and introduce stiff penalties for gun-toting criminals.

Bishop Reichert says politicians, driven towards supporting gun ownership for their own status and security, are contributing to the culture of guns.

"When politicians appear back in their electorate, they enlist the local police who show up with their big guns to walk around with them, and this creates a bit of a spectacle that youth are impressed. And it contributes to this kind of a spirit of a culture of guns."

Bishop Reichert says the Bishops fully support the work being done by the National Government's Gun Control Committee to address the gun problem.