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SECURITY GUARDS TO USE FIREARMS WHILE ON DUTY.

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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba

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The draft Private Security Industry Regulations Bill 2010 seeks to arm private security firms under the strict supervision. The proposed Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority will supervise the firms. Guns and ammunition will be issued under the Firearms Act or guidelines provided by the Internal Security minister. The security firms will be required to provide "appropriate training" for their guards and other employees. They will also have "strict and detailed guidelines on the use of minimal force in accordance with international best practice." The Firearms Act allows members of the Armed Forces and civilians to own guns if they can satisfy a licensing officer that they can exercise reasonable caution and are mentally stable. Renewed annually But the licences under this Act will be renewed annually and the licensing officer may vary terms of the certificate or revoke it on a short notice. Traditionally, private citizens are not licensed to carry automatic weapons. The proposed Bill also says a firearms licensing officer may issue a certificate if he has cause to believe "the applicant has a good reason for purchasing, acquiring or having in his possession the firearm or ammunition." The Bill also seeks to ban employees of the National Security Intelligence Services (NSIS), the Police or Prisons departments from registering or operating security firms. But it allows former security agents who left service honourably, to be employed by these firms. The Bill also bans membership or shareholding in private security firms for State employees or operatives of the NSIS and police and prisons departments. Public inspection The registrar of security firms will be open to public inspection and the provider shall be held "criminally and civilly liable" for the misconduct of its employees bearing arms.

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