Frank Boateng Asomani, National Commission on Small Arms & Light Weapons | Ghana
1. Ghana National Commission on Small
Arms & Light Weapons
Mr. Frank Boateng Asomani
Regional Review Conference on the
Geneva Declaration on Armed
Violence and Development,26-27
(Controlling the tools of violence)
3. Definition of Small Arms
Small Arms: are those arms designed for personal use. They
can be maintained, carried and used by one person.
Revolver Pistol Local Pistol
Assault Rifles Grenade Launcher Double Barrel
4. Definition of Light Weapons
Light weapons are weapons that can be maintained, used
and carried by small groups (2-3 persons), or transported
by small vehicles or pack animals.
Heavy machine-gun Rocket Propelled Grenade Recoilless
Portable Missile Launcher Mortar and Bomb
5. Key Problems & Statistics
The major sources of armed violence in Ghana could be
attributed to availability of illicit firearms, persistent youth
unemployment, increasing harsh socio-economic
conditions, drug abuse and alcoholism, chieftaincy disputes,
illegal mining activities, criminal activities, hiring of political
thugs during elections, land litigation,
According to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID)
of the Ghana Police Service, 231,908 crimes were reported
from January to December 2011 and 228,653 for the same
period in 2012.
Small arms incidents data from media reports captured by
the National Commission on Small Arms in 2014 indicate
that more than 30 people died as a result of armed
violence by the end of June. The victims of the
aforementioned armed violence included Businessmen,
Politicians, Chiefs, Security Officers and Bankers among
6. Continuation of Key Problems & Statistics
The Arms used in the aforementioned crimes, some of which were
seized by the Police, were foreign-made pistols, AK47s and pump
action guns with the majority being home-made or artisanal guns.
In March this year for instance, the Police arrested 2 people in
possession of 19 artisanal pistols, 1 pump action gun and 10 artisanal
single and double barrel guns.
Also, in May, 2014, 8 unlicensed gun manufacturers were arrested by
the Police in the Central Region with 8 artisanal single barrel guns, 3
artisanal double barrel guns, 12 gun butts and 18 gun barrels. Again, a
blacksmith was arrested in the Central Region by the Police that same
month with 9 artisanal pistols, 13 artisanal single barrel guns, 1
artisanal double barrel gun, 3 live cartridges and 16 empty cartridge
The spate of armed violence in the country, considering the example
of related death mentioned above, some of which may have escaped
the media and were unreported, coupled with the arrest of those
unlicensed gun manufacturers is an indication of an increase in the
proliferation of illicit small arms in the country.
7. Continuation of Key Problems & Statistics
Ghana is saddled with the issue of illicit firearms proliferation,
particularly as a result of illegal artisanal arms production, which fuels
armed violence. The artisanal gun is a major tool of armed violence in
Ghana. Another major tool of violence in recent past is the axe.
Statistics by the Police CID indicates that out of every 10 arms
retrieved at crime scenes, 8 are found to be artisanal, made by
unlicensed manufacturers while the remaining two are of foreign
made. Sometimes, a percentage of the two is found to be a security
category of arm such as the AK47.
8. Firearms Control Programmes & Intervention
Strengthening of the Law
Putting in place the necessary infrastructure & Control
mechanism to regulate local artisans (the production of
small scale manufacture only for hunting guns)
Identifying and mobilizing artisans into associations.
Alternative Livelihood for local artisans
Destruction of seized and confiscated arms & ammunition
Public Education and Awareness Raising Campaigns on
the illegal possession of firearms
The ban on selling of axes on street which was a major
tool of violence
9. Cont..Firearms Control Programmes & Intervention
Ban on the possession of arms in armed violence prone areas where
there have been persistent armed conflicts in recent times.
Periodic ban or suspension of importation of civil category of arms
As part of measures to control pilfering of State owned Small Arms an
armoury inspection exercise was undertaken in identified regional
capitals of Ghana to identify armouries and warehouses of the State
Security Sector who are legally mandated to bear arms and
ammunition to check whether stockpile management practices in the
various armouries are in conformity with the national laws and
international best practices.
The Institution visited were the Military, Police, Prisons, Customs the
Wildlife Division and some selected private magazines.
10. Cont..Firearms Control Programmes & Intervention
Capacity building for state security agencies in
stockpile and inventory management, border
control and management
Marking & Computerization of SALW of State
Actors & Civilian Possession.
Baseline Survey of SALW in the Country
Amnesty/voluntary weapons buyback programme
15. Marking Code
GH - Ghana
GAF- Ghana Armed
US222- is the serial
134 - is the 134th
weapon been marked i.e
GH - Ghana
GAF- Ghana Armed Forces
01955-B is the serial
5 - is the 5th weapon been
marked i.e a counter
Generally, the various interventions that have been initiated in the
country by the Ghana government, state security agencies, the
National Commission on Small Arms and Civil Societies, with support
from donor partners such as the UNDP, ECOWAS,FES etc to prevent,
reduce and control armed violence, have led to a significant reduction
in armed related crimes in Ghana over the years. More especially, the
effective implementation of preventive measures has further resulted
in the consolidation of peace in the country.
Despite these successes, there are quite a considerable amount of
challenges, especially in the area of resource mobilization, to
effectively implement further programs and projects to combat armed
We in Ghana are hopeful that sustained funding by our donors
together with frequent seminars of this nature to share ideas and best
practices would further enhance the reduction of armed violence
bringing it to its barest minimum.