Firearms are unnecessary says PM

More than 300 firearms have been handed over to the Ministry of Police by members of the public during the gun amnesty.

Authorities disposed 205 of these guns today and another 117 are earmarked for re-registration.


However, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi isn’t too keen about locals possessing firearms.


In his address he said that the freedom to possess weapons is a key component to terror activities happening in bigger countries.


"Countries like New Zealand, Australia, and the United States, are suffering from terror activities that have resulted in the unnecessary loss of lives," he said.


"All this is because of the freedom to possess a firearm.


"For Samoa, guns are not necessary. If you need a firearm to kill a bull, the Ministry of Police is always here to help, but of course at a small price for the fuel," he continued.


Some families though, use these weapons to guard their plantations, and has led to other unlawful activities as highlighted by the PM in his address.


"The ownership of guns has led to other illegal dealings, which always involves drugs," he said.


"And how many more children will we see die a tragic death because of discovering their fathers recklessly stored firearm, loaded.


"It is not necessary."


The Police Commissioner Egon Keil put the spotlight on another issue that keeps surfacing.


Some of the recorded weapons included semi-automatic rifles and automatic rifles. The biggest one discovered is a modified AK47 the same weapon used in the Paris attacks in late 2015.


"Why are these guns in Samoa? We don’t need them in Samoa," said Commissioner Keil.


"All these guns showcased today, will be crushed and shipped ten miles out to sea, and dumped with permission from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment," he added.


While some weapons are used for farming and family uses, some are used in an unlikely traditional manner. Some funerals of high chiefs have seen rifles shot into the air as a sign of respect.


PM Tuilaepa though doesn’t support this.


He said, "who started that culture, we never had any guns in our traditions, and it’s not necessary, so commissioner, if you find any funerals where rifles are being used, obtain the rifles and check them if they are registered under the law.


"If they are not, feel free to enroll them in the free to join college in Tafaigata Prison," he concluded.


This is only the third gun amnesty for Samoa, the recent one was held for an entire year, and reports say only a little more than a 100 guns were turned in. Whereas this two month amnesty at the end of 2015 has recorded a whopping 322 firearms.


The goal is to ensure the streets of Samoa are safe, by removing unlawful weapons from the country.


Joshua Lafoai