Jakarta: Stringent gun control ‘could curb trigger-happy incidents’

Original Story VIA:  The Jakarta Post

Rabby Pramudatama, Jakarta | Mon, 05/07/2012

Tighter gun-controls are being demanded by politicians and activists following a spike in firearm-related violence across the country.

Poengky Indarti, executive director of human rights watchdog Imparsial, urged the government and the House of Representatives to work together to change the firearms policy.

“Both should amend the law on the control of firearms and explosive, audit all firearm possession in the country and strengthen supervision and control,” she said.

Indonesian civilians possessed 17,983 guns in 2010, according to data from Imparsial. Civilians have firearm licenses for self-protection.

Imparsial also found that 11,869 guns are used by the National Police Special Forces, 6,551 for sports and 699 by private security companies.

Between 2005 and 2012, Imparsial recorded 46 cases of guns being misused by members of law enforcement agencies and civilians.

Data from the National Police shows that there were 453 cases of possession of illegal firearms between 2009 to 2011.

Politicians have also weighed into the gun-control debate.

People’s Consultative Assembly deputy speaker Lukman Hakim Saifuddin has called on the police to seize all firearms belonging to civilians, including lawmakers, businessmen and lawyers.

“It’s better to collect all the firearms from the hands of civilians,” he said on Sunday.

He said that social and economic insecurities had made it easier for people to pull the trigger.

“Tempers can easily flare these days, and people can easily overreact over trivial matters,” he said.

The House of Representatives said that it planned to summon National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo for questioning over the rampant use of illegal firearms.

A member of House Commission III overseeing human rights and legal affairs, Sarifuddin Sudding, said the hearing would occur after the recess period wraps up on May 13.

“We will demand National Police chief to give his explanation as to why there are so much gun-related violence recently,” he said.

He suspected that the police had not done enough to monitor gun ownership by civilians.

“How can civilians have easy access to guns and use them in criminal acts?” Sudding said.