CENTRAL FIREARMS REGISTRY
The Central Firearms Registry (CFR) was created in the year 1955 with the sole responsibility of registering and licensing of firearms within the country. To ensure effective management, the Unit was placed under the direct supervision of the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.
FUNCTIONS OF THE UNIT
Some major functions are enumerated below
1. To keep records of all firearms licensed and registered in the country indicating the type, make, barrel/serial and butt numbers and particulars of gun owners. These are obtained from the Regional, Divisional, District and Station arms and ammunition offices throughout the country. Armed with these particulars, the Central Firearms Registry at the CID-Headquarters in turn prepares index cards on each firearm registered for the first time and amend or update records for those re-licensed or renewed. The essence of providing these information to the head office is to enable the office provide accurate information on guns used in the commission of crimes and those missing or reported stolen.
2. To keep records of all licensed arms and ammunition dealers in the country.
3. To liaise with the Ministry of the Interior on control of import and export of arms and ammunition including explosives.
4. To control and monitor the movement of arms and ammunition including explosives in the country.
5. To organize training and periodic orientation courses in firearms licensing duties for selected police personnel.
6. To regularly inspect the stock levels of arms and ammunition of private magazines/warehouses of dealers.
7. To keep statistics of firearms licensed and registered, revenue collected and stock levels of licensed dealers for the information of the Head of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Minister responsible for the Interior.
Four thousand, Four Hundred and Ninety-Four (4,494) guns were licensed and registered in the 2012. Also, Four Hundred and Seventy-Four Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy Ghana Cedis (GH¢474,870.00) were collected as revenue countrywide in the same year.
The Unit is in the process of computerizing the system.
HOW TO ACQUIRE FIREARMS
Any individual who is eighteen (18) years and above, mentally sound, physically fit and of good character can apply for a firearm for use either to protect himself/herself or for gaming (i.e) hunting. However, an application for a permit to import or export arms and ammunition by licensed dealers or individuals are submitted to the Minister responsible for the Interior for his approval or otherwise. An individual who wishes to apply for a personal firearm must first report to the police, precisely the Firearm office to be taken through the process as stated in Section 1, subsection (1) of the Arms and Ammunition Decree, NRCD.9 of 1972.
The Police does 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. There is the need for somebody to act in her stead.
Firearms are 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 spells out clearly the procedure for change of ownership of firearms:
i. Change of ownership of a firearm could be effected only if the owner is no more interested in the firearm and wish to give it to someone else.
In such cases, the firearm owner together with the new applicant shall report to the nearest Police Firearm licensing office for them to be taken through the process. This is in respect of shotguns. In the case of Pistols/Revolvers, it is the Commissioner of Police/CID who has the prerogative to give approval or otherwise for the transfer of these firearms.