LIFE IMPRISONMENT FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS ON EVE OF ELECTIONS
Prime Minister, James Marape has reminded people of Papua New Guinea, on the eve of the 2022 General Election, that life imprisonment is now the maximum penalty for uncontrolled usage and ownership of firearms.
He recently tabled the Firearms Amendment Bill 2022 in Parliament, unanimously supported by all MPs, for life imprisonment for unlawful possession of firearms.
Life imprisonment is now the maximum penalty for:
• Manufacturing of homemade guns;
• Illegal ownership and possession of firearms;
• Illegal possession and use of firearms;
• Illegal possession of prohibited firearms; and
• Ownership and possession of machine guns.
Lesser penalties are a fine not exceeding K100,000 and a prison term not exceeding 50 years; and a fine not exceeding K50,000 and a prison term not exceeding 20 years.
PM Marape said the country had had enough of illegal firearms issues, including in the 2017 General Election when there were several gun-related deaths, and added there would be zero tolerance this time.
“I remind people of the eve of elections that life imprisonment is now the maximum penalty for illegal possession of firearms,” PM Marape said.
“Elections are just around the corner and candidates should tell their supporters, and themselves, not to have illegal guns in their possession.
“Supporters, youth leaders and others are reminded that you could be jailed for life for being in illegal possession of firearms.
“Illegal possession of guns no longer carries a maximum term of 10- or 20-years imprisonment, but life imprisonment, so I appeal to all citizens to be mindful of this.
“Is it worth spending the rest of your life in prison for being illegally in possession of a gun and supporting your candidate?”
PM Marape has instructed Police to monitor hotspots known for usage of guns during the 2022 elections.
“I encourage those in illegal possession of firearms to throw them away now, because if Police catch you, you will get life imprisonment,” he said.